I often say I travel on my stomach. I like nothing better than finding a wonderful restaurant in a new city-the domed restaurant in Edinburgh comes to mind--but I equally like going to old familiar haunts, like Harrys Roadhouse, Pasquales, and Tecolote in Santa Fe. So does food define my life?
I've given some thought to writing a memoir--I'm sort of between projects, a place I find uncomfortable, though I have several possibilities on the horizon, and some projects underway that will require attention again soon but not yet. So what do I do in the meantime?
The trouble with memoir is deciding how I want my life defined. In spite of my love for good food and cooking, I don't think that's the main thread. I'd probably define my life in terms of the four children I raised as a mostly single parent--but where's the story in that? Too many women have that experience and probably many in much more difficult circumstances than me. And often without the wonderful adults my children have become. But readers want trauma--not the happy life I lead.
I've thought about anxiety, which has plagued me all my life and limited my opportunities. Once in my thirties I consulted a psychiatrist who predicted that if anything ever happened to my husband (it did--he absconded for life with one of his students) I would probably live close to a university and work there. Still makes me mad because it proved true--except I've done a lot that many people with anxiety wouldn't dare do, like traveling to the Caymans and Scotland. Still I don't want it to be the defining factor of my life.
And then there's my career in publishing and my work as an author of over 60 books (I've stopped counting but could figure it out if I had to). To other writers, it might be an interesting story, but it still doesn't define my life the way my children and grandchildren do.
And how would I work in the Scottish heritage that is so important to me? And my liberal beliefs which are part of me? And my faith? How would you organize a memoir? Chronologically? By subject? The whole thing is a conundrum to me.
I actually did write a food memoir--Cooking My Way Through Life With Kids and Books--but it sure doesn't tell the whole story. It does have recipes however.
I give up. I'm going to read a mystery now.