Last year, I wrote a fictional memoir. It was a "what if?" piece. The fictional "me" writing the memoir had not made a career change I made in my mid-40's. Her mother was still alive (my mother died when I was 12). The fictional me was not on vacation in Maine when a flood hit her neighborhood in September of 2011, and went through the flood instead of experiencing it from hours away, as I did. It was a healing process. It helped me a lot. It served its purpose, and I am increasingly thinking that I should dust it off and start the editing process.
After trying to write my "real" memoir, I find myself thinking about that work in progress more and more. One of the characters, my fictional daughter (in real life I have a son), has been pleading with me, in my mind, to let her out and let her live. How can I not resist?
I had been afraid of fiction, but in a way, fiction will now seem liberating. I don't have to worry about fact verification - although I have to worry about all those aspects of fiction writing that I've never learned about, and now will have to. Nor do I have to worry about writing about real, still living people, who might not like what I have to say.
So, then I got to thinking. I hadn't inserted a fictional character with autism into that fictional memoir, but perhaps I should.
I am a long distance caregiver to two people. One of them is my elderly mother in law. Nothing unusual, there. I am walking a path that millions of people have walked. Nothing unusual there.
But no, there is something out of the ordinary. My mother in law lives with one of her sons. She has cared for this son every moment of his life. He is developmentally disabled with a condition called autism. Mixed in with my mother in law's needs are those of my brother in law. He will never be able to live independently.
What will happen to him when my mother in law passes on? I've blogged about this several times over the years, and will be blogging about it again, soon.
I obviously know about the subject, and care. So why not have the "fictional" me also experience this challenge, and perhaps I could set that part in a future that hasn't arrived yet in real life.
I just might do it. (I promise, no videos like the one in yesterday's blog post.)
So...dear fictional daughter, hang on. I might just be reopening that manuscript one day soon.