When I tell people I’m working on a memoir, they look at me like they think I am crazy. Or about to die. They think that memoirs are only written by people at the end of their lives. I explain that you don’t need to be 80 or dying to write a memoir. (That’s an autobiography, which tells the story of a whole life.) A memoir tells the story of a period of time in a person’s life. More often than not, a memoir tells the story of a change in a person’s life. If a memoir is a good one, it often reads like a novel. The story and the change reach toward the universal.
Since this conversation is so meta and so focused on the definition of the memoir, I have decided that it’s time to stop saying I am working on a memoir and instead just say I am writing a book about my experiences. I’m about halfway through the writing process. Here is what the book is about. It gives me chills to tell you what the book is about because writing on these themes is as cathartic and adventurous as actually living these experiences was in the first place:
I’m working on a book. It’s about a single, sexually frustrated woman who feels lost and borderline depressed. . . and who really doesn’t know what she wants in life. She decides to explore life through sensuality. That woman was me. It’s about my journey of leaving tech-obsessed Silicon Valley where I was living completely in my head and entering body-centered cultures in South America: Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. Along the way, I explore the sensual through dance, with other things like sex, kissing, food, Brazilian Carnaval, orgasmic meditation and mud baths lighting the way.
It’s a book that is about desire and knowing what you want. It’s a book about overcoming guilt and shame. It’s a story about leaving the to-do list behind to learn how to live from a different place. From pleasure.
I’m currently in Rio refreshing my impressions. And I do say I am mightily proud of myself for having given myself the assignment of writing a book about pleasure. I mean, what kind of homework is that?
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