Posted on April 11, 2011 by Colin

Hard Tales to Tell

 

I’ve been caught off guard by what a difficult process writing this book has been.

In case you missed it, I announced a few weeks ago that I would be writing a new book, and instead of being something purely instructional, it would be more of a short memoir, telling stories from the last two years of travel and relevant tidbits from beforehand.

Now, writing this book hasn’t been difficult in the way that the Icelandic language is difficult (try to pronounce a double-L and tell me I’m exaggerating). I’m actually cruising right along, finishing up chapters and weaving connective bits to tie them all together. I should be finished with the primary writing stage by the end of this week. Then comes the editing and rewording and expounding and yadda yadda yadda.

No, the hard part has actually been exposing more of myself and my story, to myself and in writing. Putting into words things that you don’t ever talk to anyone about can be tricky, and showing a bit more emotion when your writing style is generally more analytical is a hard line to walk.

There’s also the issue of length.

When you write a blog, you have the luxury of writing in a very concise format. My writing style in particular has been whittled down to the necessary information, and I’ve taken a sort of pride in being able to tell a story quickly, so as not to waste anyone’s time.

With this book, however, I have more space in which to explore details and meaning, and that leaves me a lot more room to explore hidden subtext and that I may not feel as comfortable sharing.

For example, there’s a story that I wrote yesterday about my approach to social situations, and how I’m locked in a constant battle against my introversion (or is it social anxiety?) each and every time I go somewhere and meet with people.

There’s also a tale that I’ve never told that involves a job offer that came my way right before I left LA for Argentina, in which the only potential mentor-figure that I’ve ever had gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I passed on it and since then I’ve been avoiding him, half-concerned that he’s offended I didn’t take it, and even more worried that he simply won’t remember me.

The key to both of these topics is that they’re territory that is not very well-explored in my life. These are tales that don’t yet have a morality lesson or the sparkly-sheen of well-told polish. I don’t know how they fit into MY overall story, and how exposing them will effect how I look at myself, and how others look at me.

But that’s the point.

Through this book, I want to open new doors, not erect new barriers. I want to retell a few well-known stories of my life and how I do what I do, with increased detail given and an original twist that didn’t come out with the first telling.

I’ve pulled out journal entries from my first week in a new country, emails between myself and short-time lovers, and poured over old photographs, pulling up old memories and scenarios that somehow I never wrote down.

It’s an understatement to say that it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but it’s only by analyzing and reanalyzing impactful moments in our lives that we’re able to squeeze all the important stuff out of them.

I think at the end of this project I’ll be a better person for having done it.

I might even sell a few books.

PS: I’m going to start sending out previews and other tidbits to the book’s mailing list this week, so if you want to get in on that stuff, sign up below.