I’ve been working steadily on writing a book. It is not a novel, which is what everyone assumes. It is a memoir. I’m trying to write about what it was like to be with my family and go over to Russia to teach English in a private school with a Christian curriculum in 1991-1993.
I started out, and in January, I had about 100 pages written. THen I realized that I had to stop TELLING the story and I had to start writing the experiences. What I had been doing with the first 100 pages was being my current self, the ironic cosmopolitan with PERSPECTIVE on what happened back then.
Absolutely NOT the way to tell a real story. If I distance myself from my own story, how can I expect to draw in a reader? But the fact is, I didn’t want to dive in. To call these memories painful would only be the tip of the iceberg. Nothing is just as simple as pain. Pain is such a flat word. I needed to dive right back in to THEN and write what it was like to live it.
It is not easy to do that. I’ve now re-written to the point of having 140 pages.
AND WE STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN ON THE PLANE.
My mind panics when I think about (think about writing about) going to Russia. And that is exactly how I felt during the time I was getting ready to go. That is the time I am writing about, that getting-ready period.
Right now, I am filled with those feelings I had then. And I am missing those people I knew then. I am SO missing them.
I had to do a little cyber-stalking. God bless Google. What’s Dean up to? What about Alex? Tommy Piper?
They say you can never go home again. I say, you can never go anywhere again. Some things never change, but I am not some things. It’s very sad to me, to realize that I can’t ever recapture the closeness of a friendship. Or realize the closeness that I once wanted.
People change. I change. It makes me sad.
Not that I would have it any other way. You couldn’t pay me enough to stay the way I was back then.
Anyway, I am surprised at how real these people are to me. It is like they just walked out of the room. I’ve had to struggle to remember their personalities and their speech patterns. I have to try to create dialogue with them…I say create…But it is more like remembering…And I remember up scraps of things I’ve done and said with them…And there they are. Like I could reach out and touch them. Like I could give them one more hug goodbye.
And I wish I could.