The Spark Prize is a writing prize offered by Hardie Grant, and RMIT for a new book of narrative non fiction. The prize is development of the idea, the book, coaching, and mentoring. $5000. Bienniel.
I have a number of things swirling in my head.
Foremost is: can’t do it, can’t do it, can’t do it, not ready, not ready, afraid, afraid, back off, next time.
Then: omg, detailed chapter summaries are required.
Then: The third draft of the ThirtiesPerson memoir is still a big amorphous mass.
Then: I’m a fragile wee thing, scarcely able to do anything these days, damaged, damaged.
Then: if not now, when?
Then: what if I get it, and can’t follow through?
Then: help. I need help!
Then: I’ve just read Lisa Curry’s memoir LISA, and I admire her focus and determination, and I’ve just said to several friends ‘shall we be the best we can be?’ And here I am, two days later, backing off from that due to fear, and doubt, two things Lisa doesn’t seem to possess, or if she does, they weren’t my take aways from the book.
Then: Feel the fear and do it anyway.
I’ve sat frozen on my bed for the past half an hour, consumed by fear and doubt, since reading the requirement of detailed chapter summaries, when my memoir doesn’t have any chapters, and is 135000 words of ‘this, then this, then this’. It is narrative non fiction in that it tells a story. I finally have my ending, after years of sitting with this.
I’ve eaten 1/3 of a big Freddo Frog as comfort food, want to eat the rest, then drive to the supermarket and buy All The Cadbury Chocolate I can carry.
About 8 months ago, in a secret facebook group for Australian women writers, I had quite the run in with women writers who questioned my right to write the story of a little boy in Western Australia with severe autism. His mother is a friend of mine, and wants her story told, wants his story told. There was a lot of screeching, and having a go at me for taking this story, instead of letting the lad tell his own story (which he is not capable of doing). It was suggested that someone on the spectrum should tell this story, at the very least. I pointed out that I am on the spectrum. “Okay then, don’t fuck it up!” I was told. Along with several women saying that they were ‘super triggered’ by this. I left the group. It’s not the first time this sort of pile on has happened in that group. It’s not a very good group for supporting neurodiverse women writers, it seems. (I’ve just read the memoir of the lead gang member. She’s a shitty writer. She can get fucked.)
Do I have the right to tell ThirtiesPerson’s story? Well, if I don’t, no one else will. And it’s my story as well.
It’s lunch time now. I am going to eat, and then do some yogic breathing, and fucking well make up 20 chapter headings after luncha and bloody well tackle this. Why not me? Lisa Curry, please send some of your muscle and grit my way.