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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finding The Why.

The silence at the table was deafening.

Roughly twelve women from all walks of life sat in open shock of the words coming out of my mouth so easily as I aired my musty laundry to them as someone might talk about buying a house or dealing with parent -teacher conferences -- nearly bored with the details, edging on the cusp of embarrassed to be even giving attention to the banality of it all.

We were there in the Pathfinder session of the BlogHer conference, in the session dedicated to turning our blogs into books, and when asked what my book would be about, I briefly talked about the almost-divorce.

And was met with a solid beat of nothing but wide eyes, dropped jaws, and hands on decolletages.

Finally, one woman swallowed and took a breath before she formed her response.

She stammered slightly as she acknowledged the stranger-than-fiction story I had just put forth, telling me it was remarkable and certainly one she'd like to hear more about.

But why, she said with a furrowed brow, would people want to read this?

It was my turn to be shocked silent.

I didn't have a good answer.

The women at the table piped up then, together, and I heard everything from how it might be something I need to write more for me than for actual publishing, or that I shouldn't write it as memoir but as fiction because it might be more marketable that way, and the slightly stinging comment that it would be great for a Lifetime movie script.

Someone asked what I wanted to call it, were I to write it, and again I had no solid response, any half-processed working title quickly thrown aside in rejection for simple, blunt one-word monikers that yes, sounded fit for a cable channel production.

I tried hard not to hang my head, not to let my cracking resolve show, and most of all not let the angry tears even begin to show to these women I was thrown into the fire of a small-group session with.

They nodded in agreement with each other, deciding tacitly that they had solved my problem for me, the youngest one at the table, about my book, that it would be better fiction and perhaps a labor of love and not anything marketable, but good for me that I wanted to take my experiences the choices I made and feel so strongly about sharing my story.

And it was the next woman's turn to tout her book.

*****
These are the questions that have been quietly haunting me for the last six months.

What would I call it and why would people want to read it?

I know I haven't talked much in detail about how that entire time went down -- sure, I've provided the bare bones from time to time -- but I've purposely held back because I knew, once it was primarily over and the dust had begun to settle, that if ever my life were to have a story worth telling, this time in my life would be it.

Yet, whenever I become certain that I have something worth sharing in my head, waiting for me to dedicate it to screen, I hear those women's voices and see their frowning faces as they recovered form the truth that I'd laid before them.

And, I hesitate. I hold back because I don't have the answers to those questions. I don't know what the hell to call my life story, and I can't validate why it would be a story other people would want to read other than I just think they would.

But I'm still struggling with the why

Why?