My memoir, “Under the Birch Tree” has been a work in progress for over ten years but it has been only the last year where I have been intent on completing it. It’s time for me to turn the last page and close it up. I have received critiques from two trusted editors/writers. Their feedback really came to the same conclusion, though approached from two different ends.
I believe all my elements are there, mixed with my chapters of, “roots,” “yellow walls . . . white walls,” and “docked.” Sometimes I wish I could throw all the chapters and the paragraphs that created them, up in the air then pick up the shuffled deck in their new order. Would this mitigate my angst in not being able to feel that the manuscript is complete? I wonder if my story is ready or if I need more time to sift out threads and weave them more deeply. I remain diligent in its development.
A closet clean-out day this week resulted in the raining of photo albums, year books, diplomas and old report cards from the toppest shelf onto the floor and my head. The domino effect started with the pull of one book and then the rest came, paper innards and all. One of my high school yearbooks shed a memento from inside. It was a picture, in black and white. I held the art project and was amazed; clearly a sign I needed and was waiting for. The picture was of a house, water, and a tree, similar subjects as my chapter titles.
These elements – birch tree, my place/my home, are woven into my theme. My book opens with a tree narration and drive along a lake. The yearbook it fell from was titled, “Journey” with a simple engraved drawing of a tree on the cover.
I write of my journey, my story. This picture has been my memoir all these years, since high school, an art project in black and white.