The second last conversation I had with my Oma

Oma and I circa 2006
Was about my book.

The book I have kicked and screamed at for the last 3.5 years.

The book that I tell people I'm writing...and I am...that is currently a collection of thoughts, ideas, scribbled moleskin notes, post its, bursts of inspiration on long train rides or while waiting for the bus and cue cards.

So many cue cards.

The book that I have wondered if it's actually in me to write.

In moments of extreme doubt I honestly wonder if the book actual ever existed in my brain or if I just wished it into being or hoped that if I put it out into the world enough that this was my intention that it would magically happen.

Books don't magically happen I've learned.

I skyped with my Oma the first Christmas we lived in Switzerland. We skyped from our Brazilian friends apartment and she was at my Aunts house.

My then 84-year-old Oma was using Skype. This woman remembered when refrigerators were the height of new technology and here she was using Skype.

Her stroke that had happened the previous year had stolen her ability to speak confidently. But she sat and listened as John and I went on about our life here. Oma asked me in German (the stroke didn't steal her German completely so take that stupid stroke) what I was doing with myself. My Auntie Mindy told her, "she's writing her book remember." My Oma smiled...she remembered (hallelujah!) and my Aunt then said, "and when she's done, we're all going to read it." My Oma smiled again and said, "Na yo." Which is low German and has several meanings but in this context it meant "of course."

She passed away a few months later.

She will never get a chance to read my book.

Hell there may never be a book for anyone to read. I don't know.

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic. But I need to be honest with myself there is a strong possibility this book may never happen.

Does this mean I won't try? No, not at all. I would rather prove it for myself about the existance of this alledged book or not.

Some people tell me I need to build the habit of writing. I've tried that. Believe me I've tried all the things in all the books people tell you to read when you want to write a book. Build the habit, have a dedicated writing space/time/tiara. I have planned things. I've written by the seat of my pants. I've tried writing 2000 words a day come hell or a pile of dishes. I've tried writing first thing. I've tried writing last thing. I've tried writing at home, at starbucks, by hand, by typwriter and by dragon dictate. I've tried it all.

What I haven't tried is just doing it. I've spent so much time trying to build the habit and preparing to write that I actually haven't written.

Go figure.

So what I need to do is just write...and maybe a book will happen. And maybe it won't but at least I can say I tried...rather than tried to try.


Anonymous said…
I'm sorry about the Stroke, they can be horrible things to happen to people, my Grandma also had one and it pretty much robbed her of most of her sanity. Although she seems happy, it's quite heartbreaking to tell her again and again that her brother ha passed away.

Sounds like you two had a lovely relationship! I can't imagine how it must feel to see some many technological advances in ones lifetime though! It's must feel so unreal.

Good luck with the book!
Bean far away said…
Dear, came across your blog through the EXPATSBLOG link. I am also in CH, also lost my Grandma while I was already an expat and remember the last time I visited her at her retirement home, how I just wanted to pick her up, put her in my car and speed off like in a scrambled-age Thelma and Louise remake.
I have written a book. It's in the hands of a literary agent now, it's a memoir of the 12 years my family and I spent travelling the world from one assignment to the next, and ended up moving 8 times. I am getting arthritis from keeping my fingers crossed day and night. It's been two weeks the agent has had my manuscript. If she refuses to represent me I will just auto publish on Amazon because I am ready to move on to something else. The title is JAPANESE IN GERMAN AND OTHER EXPAT DELIGHTS, but this is jus the millionth title I have come up with...Anyway, I will go back to reading your blog a bit now. Cheers!