Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hidden Agendas

My dad, who knows little about the Writer Life (other than the fact his daughter is always working) and who stopped inquiring 'how is the book coming?' about two years ago, finally asked, "So how much money are you going to make on this biography?"

"Dad, I couldn't tell you. I'll probably never be paid enough for the time and tears I've put into it."

He shook his head, having some small idea what the book has cost me. "I bet you won't do that again," he opined. He can't understand why someone would give up so much for so little.

Sometimes, neither can I, to be honest. I could have made an easier choice for my first book. There were some days (actually today is one of them!) when I thought there could not be a task more emotionally challenging than writing a biography on a living person. I was making a decent living as a freelance writer before I took last year off to write. It will take me many months to get my footing and find work again, so my personal and financial sacrifice to make this book a reality is significant.

No, it certainly wasn't illusions of grandeur or fame or wealth that spurred me on or even prompted me to tackle this project. So what was my agenda?

I have to say, this was one of the heart-projects. One of those things you know that you have to do, even though you don't know why or how you're going to do it or what will come of it.

Such is the power of story.

Some stories just have to be told. Mary Majka's is one of them.

Over a three year period, I had what I called, 'Thursdays with Mary', as we worked our way through the days of her 80 year old life. It was often painful for both of us. Many times I had to confront and reaffirm my reasons for continuing. Some days I ran away to sit by the shore and cry. But what I learned through the process is profound. I know the ripples (and aftershocks) created during these interviews will continue through my own life and lives of those who read the book.

It's hard not to measure our success by whether or not we reach our destination. But what about those little ripples we make as we journey along? Many ripples make a wave; waves travel long distances.

Who knows what shores they will reach? What people they will touch?


kendalee said...

Hi Deborah,

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for leading me back to yours :) I loved your tree post - wondrous moment between friends (and trees) indeed!

And as for this post, I can't speak from experience of the challenge of writing a book but I believe absolutely that heart-projects are the most important and can't help but succeed. And I'm already intrigued to hear more about Mary Majka's life...

beth said...

I agree with you....
and I surely don't want to quote a miley cyrus/hannah montana song...especially since my youngest is 18 and a boy....but, it's all about the climb !

thanks for the visit :)

Kerri said...

Thank you for finding my else would I have found you? I can't even imagine the blood,sweat, and tears you've put into this book. Congratulations on having it completed! I hope the "feathery lightness" that you felt will continue!

What will you write next?

me ann my camera said...

As a couple of comments have already included the sentiment, "Thank you for finding my blog which led me to yours." I have book msrked it and shall return to enjoy some more of your thoughtful moments of reflection on life. My daughter is a writer so I sm familiar a bit with the dedication and demand that such a task requires. You have chosen a worthy subject and I will definitely be in line to buy your book when it is published and in book stores. Good luck with your continued venture. Thdnks for your blog visit. I love sharing my glimpses of nature and meeting those who appreciate the nature link. Ann

Shayla said...

Mary Majka’s story will be fascinating to read. How thankful we are that you covered it and who knows where those ripples will lead.

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh, what a wonderful accomplishment, to finish your book, and your dad's comments, so like a dad... roxanne

Alicia said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! Sounds like you have lots of grateful bloggers out there--so great that you pay us all a visit! I really appreciate your time! I will definitely be back to your site! Hugs, Alicia

Anonymous said...

I often see that we write to release that which is binding us within. Something wants to be heard. Something wants to be released, and when the twists and turns are explored and the knots are untied, we find an explicable peace within. Its as if we have lifted the story from us to find out who we truly are. We learn we are not the story but the story teller. We become free then to continue on with the tale of our choosing.

Most people enjoy being swept up by other directors and writers and plots that were handed down to us. But when we take the time to see the world as it is for our self, and through our own specialized lens and view point, then we find that we can become the screenplay writer, the director, and the producer of our own play.

The telling of our story releases our feelings and merges us with a currency that is far more valuable than the over inflated dollar.