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.