Sunday, October 24, 2010

More about "Walkaway"

The way my mind works is this: I call someone on the phone. Nobody answers. It's my fault. Maybe it's my Jewish genes but guilt runs very deep in my veins. Omnipotent guilt in which I think I'm responsible for just about anything that happens in the world. The cult loved this. I was as easy to manipulate as a marionette. Things have gotten better since I left but I still have to stand guard against recalcitrant brain cells.

So when I post something like the first scene of a new book and almost nobody says anything, my insecurities spike and I wonder if I shouldn't just chuck myself into the fireplace. My husband tells me this is an extreme reaction, especially when there's no fire burning. In "Walkaway", I've been told the character is too weak and no one will like her (i.e. me). That's the problems with memoirs - her is me - you can't get away from yourself.

I'm happy to say that I'm through with memoirs and the narcissistic self-loathing that goes along with them. I'll have more fun with fiction because if no one answers the phone, I won't blame myself and think about throwing myself anywhere. Life is short. Why make it shorter? I'm working on something called "constructive hedonism," commonly known as "having fun." Not something that comes naturally to me. But fiction is fun, memoir is not. So there you go.

I'm still going to try to get "Walkaway" published though. I still think there are people out there, like yourselves maybe, who will relate to the confusion, fear and exhilaration that accompanies leaving a cult. My writing teacher once told me that the reason we write is to "relieve the world of some of its loneliness." If my writing helps one (preferably more but I'll go with one) person feel less lonely, then I have succeeded. Someone has answered the phone. Because writing is often like calling out into the void. When no one answers, you wonder what you did wrong. If someone does respond, even if it's to say "shut up and go back to sleep," at least you know you reached someone. You know you're not alone.


Oneperson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oneperson said...

Oops...sorry for my typos. I should have proofed. *redface*

Here it is again. ;-)
Hi Kristen,

I am looking forward to "Walkaway."

And I read every one of your blog posts. :-) Just so you know...I am "one."

I don't comment often due to my own insecurities. Yet I relate deeply to most everything you write.

On the subject of 'guilt', this morning we discovered the puppy pooped inside last night, and on our bed of all places. It is very unusual of her. And I had taken her out three times in the wee morning hours to relieve herself. After my husband cleaned up the mess, I thought, "What did I do wrong to cause her to do this?"

Point being, shame and guilt has coursed through my veins for so long, it is sometimes difficult for me to see myself not at fault. Too, I also often find it difficult to speak up due to such ingrained self-blame. I have often trembled as I press the send or submit button.

I've been having an especially difficult time the last few months.

I look forward to every post on your blog.

I'll keep an eye out for when "Walkaway" hits the shelves. :-)

Much love,
~carol welch

Chris Cushingham, Sr. said...

The radio man, Paul Harvey, was a genius at the art of the sequel, a very difficult genre, with his, "Now you know the rest of the story..." What you have shared thus far about yourself has been engaging and eye-opening. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Although I have only recently "discovered" you, you have made it into my "favorites" tab, and I find myself checking in often to see what else you have to say.

You have a lot to say, we're listening....

Billy said...

If you are referring to the small response (so far) to your excerpt post from Sunday, less than a week ago, give it time. I would guess that there a number of people who will read your post who haven't yet done so. Peoples' shedules vary. You yourself have gone though a couple of pretty long stretches of not posting. Lately you have been quite prolific; maybe some haven't caught up with you yet.

Of course, if your aims as a writer are even modest, I would guess there will have to be other avenues other than this blog to let people know, or at least to let more people know about your blog. I have always wondered about that canceled appearance on "Fox and Friends" from a couple years ago that was evidently never rescheduled, or if it was, I missed it, something like that would be good if it fits with what you want.

With the admission that I am not a qualified literary critic or writer of any kind, and also that the only part of "Walkaway" that I have read is your posted excerpt, I don't know how your character can be called "weak". If reality and honesty make the character (you) weak, then I think I would lose as a reader by having it "strengthened". I love your writing style, it is very very important to me that you wrote "Losing the Way" and evidently "Walkaway" as you did. Reading any fiction that you might write could be a different thing, although, (remember, only as a reader), there is something I really like about your writing that would apply to fiction as well; I'll get to that now in a response to your previous post.

Charlene said...

You can be sure I will be among the first to get "Walkaway." Keep writing no matter what.

Love from another walkaway!

jeff said...

Hi Kristen, :)

I can imagine why fiction would be an easier thing to put out there for everybody to see, that way insecurities, warts, and farting wouldn't have to be considered unless they were placed there for artistic effect.

I think it is very brave and potentially extremely helpful to put your own life out there for everybody to see.

But of course, something as popular as Harry Potter would have to be fiction, and in order to make your story popular you would have to be portrayed as something akin to a fictionalized Wonder Woman, and that IMO would not be helpful at all and actually make all the rest of us poor mortals feel the need to feel guilty about our own insecurities, warts, and farting. hehehe

Anyhow, I hope you get through all the ups and downs, I'm betting any number of successful artists know exactly how you feel. HANG IN THERE BABY!

Billy said...

Jeff, you said what I was trying to say, only better, more colorful, and more concise IMO. I'll just add that, given my previous skepticism, IF I had felt that the truth were being stretched or amplified in "Losing the Way" for literary or any reasons, it would have turned me off. And yet, I still Kristen's writing holds the reader very well. We ex-Way people, especially those of us who were at the same place at the same time as Kristen during any of her account, may be biased because her reality lives so strongly for us. However, while not being a real prolific reader, I have read a few biographical accounts in my 60 years of existence, and that includes some pretty dry and boring ones, and Kristen's is definitely not one of those. The reason I struggle though the boring ones is that most are World War II related, and I'm a history freak of that conflict.

Kristen Skedgell said...

Thank you, all, for your encouragement. I'll keep your words close to my heart as I continue. and I'll be thinking of you, too. Thanks again,

Susan said...

Hi, Kristen ... I left the Way on January 11, 1996 after 23.5 years of involvement. I am interested in reading about your thriving afterward. With the help of some wonderful friends who were also in The Way for a long time and are out, I too am thriving, but I know quite a few people who were with The Way that are not. Perhaps through reading about your journey, I can better help them.

Anonymous said...

I'm extwi and write fluffy speculative romance fiction. Pure Escapism. I recommend it as a fun activity! Are you thinking of NaNo Wri Mo--it's not too late!

I could not write my memoir of the TWI years without going into an emotional tailspin...maybe someday when I'm old and have more perspective.

Bramble- GSC tag

Carol V. Hall said...

You have made me less lonely. Thank you. I cracked up at your "constructive hedonism" comment. Since I have been writing my memoir, I have thought a million times that it sounds so dull, and who would want to read this? and who do you think you are writing a memoir anyway? But I persist, because I see the benefits in what you have done in pushing through to get Losing the Way written and published.