I was so blown away this week by the kindness and generosity of David Avallone to share his time and answer some of my questions about writing, finding an artist to work with, and the different ways to fundraise while self publishing. He also gave me lots of little tips and words of wisdom that covered a range subjects. Thank you, David.

After talking with him, I evaluated some of my drafts and sketches and decided that rather than write a novel that merges into a graphic novel, I should do both separately. For now, I’m going to concentrate on the novel version, because that is how I’ve started. Once that is done, I’ll write the manuscript for the graphic novel. David related to me a paraphrased quote from Neil Gaiman, that really clicked some things into place: writing a graphic novel is writing for an audience of one, the artist. I hadn’t thought of it that way and now the story is separate in my mind as two entities. I’ve gotten much more writing done because of that separation and being able to put pins in all the graphic novel thoughts to come back to later.

Also, my dear Samantha has agreed to help me start editing the chapters I have in various stages of completion. Having a critical eye on them makes me feel like some work is getting done, rather than me just pouring out words onto pages.

In trying to figure out writing a memoir, I’ve had to check myself often. I’m the villain and the hero of my story, but it’s so personal that it is sometimes terrifying to be that vulnerable, especially with myself. To acknowledge how time after time I failed myself (and my former spouse and children) but not fall into beating myself up is the greatest challenge. Because codependency is one of the themes of the story, it is also difficult to not disclose too much of another person’s life and their own journey. My focus is to treat the truth of my experience with others with kindness to them and raw honesty to myself. Rereading my journals makes this an eye opening exercise when I unravel the hurts I survived that were caused by my own choices. That I made those choices makes me the villain. That I survived them makes me the hero. It has been a delicate dance.

Stoicism and Zen help but I’ve also been applying Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements a lot in my retelling the past.

They are:

  • Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direct of truth and love.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstanding, sadness, and drama.
  • Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the actions and opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  • Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to when you are sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

These have been my frame of reference for telling my own truth. Part of the story I’ve shared does not show the whole truth. That was partially intentional, to build drama, because I am telling a story, after all. And part of it is unintentional, because I am telling the story in pieces here and cannot close the circle in just a few quick blog posts.

I may only write this story for myself, but I do hope that if someone else ever reads it, they can begin to find compassion and love for themselves where there once may have been self destruction. We only have this one life and the world is too harsh to not be kind to ourselves.