Memoir writing is not easy, but it is definitely rewarding. I started writing my book From the Same Quiver as journal entries, nearly three years after the fact, but soon realized that there was a book hidden amongst all of the loose stories I was telling. So I decided to write the book instead of the journal entries.
I called my friend and partner in crime, Miette, and told her my plan to tell the story of our great adventure. She was enthusiastic and instantly pulled out her pompoms to cheer me on, and she never once slacked in her role as my cheerleader. We went through the galleries on our phones to track our driving and make sure we had our route straight. Then we went through all of our social media from that month on the road to jog our memories. Next, we made a map of each city that we had stopped in and discussed each important story that we had lived in those cities. And then the writing began.
Of course, when you’re dealing with a memoir you are constantly faced with the decision of how honest you want to be. There are parts of my book that I’m embarrassed about, but when I was writing I felt like they were somehow integral parts of my story and that if I left them out the story wouldn’t have the integrity that I wanted it to have. When you’re writing a memoir, you must decide how deep into your consciousness your reader will be allowed to go, and the deeper they’re allowed, the more real and relatable your story becomes.
I mention drugs and sex in my book, and of course these topics are usually taboo to talk about, but I decided to put it all out on the table. I do not define myself by what I did when I was twenty-three years old, but it was all a part of my process, and in a coming-of-age memoir like this one showing the process is of utmost importance.
Above is a picture of me on our road trip showing off my new tattoo—the tattoo that inspired the title of my memoir From the Same Quiver. For those who aren’t familiar with the word “quiver” it is the satchel that archers carry over their shoulder which contains their arrows. Below, a short extract.
In two days, I would be boarding an airplane and flying to another continent, where I knew no one and barely spoke the language. I would be leaving my best friend behind. We had become so unified over the month we had spent together. I looked down at my tattoo, the arrow flying across my tanned skin, and smiled. I glanced over at Miette’s bicep. Two arrows from the same quiver.
The white noise of the wind took away any feeling of obligation to talk, and we sat in blissful, contemplative silence, both gazing far out into the ocean as well as deep into ourselves. It felt so perfect not knowing what was going to happen. I felt like I was turning myself over to destiny, truly giving the Universe the opportunity to show me what I needed to see and take me to what I needed to experience. I’m all yours, Universe! I thought. I’m ready for all of it!