"Two competing forces have dominated my life: a great need to please others and an equally powerful desire for expression, a tumbleweed that has grown in mass and velocity with the passing years".
I read those opening sentences from "Writing Is My Drink" (2013) by Theo Pauline Nestor standing in the public library. Less than a minute later I left with the book in my hand. Less than one hour later, after copying nine sentences from the introduction, which is just eight pages, I went and purchased my own copy. Less than four hours later, with significant highlighting and margin annotating included, I finished, except for the "Try This" suggestions closing each chapter. I'm saving those for my re-read.
I'm so glad I didn't read this wonderful book before starting my submission for the AARP/Huffington Post memoir contest. And I wish I'd found it early in the year, before beginning to write those 5000 words. Yes, you read those two sentences correctly. The familiar formula contributing to this Jekyll/Hyde contradiction? Quality of Nestor's memoir + Pat's inner critic = high likelihood of procrastination/endless re-writes. If I'd read "Writing..." first, that February 15 AARP/Huffington Post deadline would likely have come and gone with no submission from Pat.
Based on comments received re some earlier posts about procrastination, I know that issue plagues some of you sometimes. If you promise me you'll shun your inner procrastinator and read "Writing Is My Drink", I'll promise to pay less attention to my immobilizing inner critic. To sweeten the deal, I'll also work harder on something Nestor and I appear to share based on her first sentence- that silly need for approval. In the meanwhile, any long form prose I write in the future will be enhanced having read this book much the same as my lyric writing has steadily improved since finishing Stephen Sondheim's "Finishing The Hat" over four years ago. Thanks to Theo & Stephen for sharing their gifts.