writing a book is hard


I am five (or six or seven) years in to this memoir project and just today realized what I am writing. I have been talking about the book for some time now, but it takes awhile to sit with it, let it marinate in your bones, and have an epiphany. What I realized is: There were the people who stayed after the Biafran Civil War, and those who left, like my parents. I am writing about the latter. It is an interesting kind of experience contextualizing it, understanding where I fit in. It somewhat blew my mind for a minute today, but I am glad to be able to articulate it succinctly now, having spent so much of my life on this project. Writing a book is hard. There is the writing that, for me, comes before the understanding, the organizing and consolidating. Then there is the process of figuring out what it all means. Then you go back and add in the context as best you can (at least, that's how I do it), once you figure out what the framework is, how to see your life as a push-pull of historical, social and political forces. Then of course you have to make all the inner voices you have been over the course of five (or six or seven) years sound like one. It takes a lot of patience and more wisdom than you can imagine. I am writing the beginning last. I had thought I had already written it, but I realized that I hadn't, so I am doing it now. And now I think it's really best to write the beginning last when you realize what is at stake. This is not a roadmap, these are just my thoughts. I applaud and appreciate people who know where they are going when they put pen to page. But I think if I had put that much pressure on myself and even sought to articulate the project in these specific terms before starting it, I may not have written the first word. So it is okay. The work is coming. I am here.

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