How I fell back in love with the work.

Late last year, Abby emailed me a link. I clicked it, because I always click links from Abby. It was a blog post written by author Kate Hopper, announcing that her memoir had found a publishing home and will come out this fall. 

Kate explained how the whole process--from writing those first drafts to publication--took nine years. She talked about how in the middle of all that work and waiting, she got a clearer sense of what the book was about. So, she started over. She opened a blank word document and wrote the book again. 

And that's the part that spoke to me. How she saw the true heart of her story and began again. I had spent 2011 revising and polishing my own memoir. Remember how you encouraged me? How I paused to celebrate when the work was complete? 

But when the imaginary confetti settled, I had this nagging sense that I had not hit the jugular. Which part of my story was the story? I knew it was in there, but where? And then Kate's post landed in my inbox. I left a comment, and she reached out to me. We swapped several emails and started working together. As it turns out, Abby had led to me to Kate and to the heart of my own story. 

It was there all along, hiding like a shiny jewel. Buried in a flashback scene. I had understood the scene was important but was never sure where it fit. Kate said it didn't belong in the last chapter, but in the first. Her suggestion--and the "rightness" of it--brought me to tears. 

I'm introducing you to Kate, because I'm sure it won't be the first time I mention her. And also because I saw it as an opportunity to try something here that I've wanted to try for a long time. And that's build a community of shared stories. 

I believe we are bound by the universal nature of our personal stories. By sharing them, we inspire, we entertain, we connect. We learn, we grow. We realize that our flaws and our screw ups make us more normal than we thought. Our secret hopes and dreams suddenly seem possible. 

Recently, Kate honored with me a blogging award and tasked me with answering five questions. So today, I'm going to share Kate's questions. And next week, I'll answer one question a day, and invite you to answer each question, too. You can answer in the comments section, or you can use it as a writing prompt for your own blog. Then, you can add the link to my post. (If you've never done a link up, I'll include instructions. Since I've never hosted a link up, this ought to be fun. Just taking us on a little test drive, friends.) 

In the meantime, here are the questions:  

1- Monday: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish (professionally or personally) in the next year?

2- Tuesday: Who is the one person who has had an important influence on you? Describe.

3- Wednesday: What essay or poem or short story do you return to again and again? Why?

4- Thursday: In what ways has parenthood shifted your perspective on some aspect (you chose) of your life?

5- Friday: Describe your ideal day. 

You may be tempted, but don't answer today. Let them simmer. I hope you'll join me next week and share your stories!