It’s tough to know, “How much sentimentality is too much?” especially when writing a memoir. Even more so when writing about camp; the most inexplicably wonderful experience I’ve ever longed to relive second only to my kids’ early years. I heightened the challenge by using real names, having only two antagonists, (possibly three, if my high school is counted), by accentuating the positive, and by having “a glut of characters”, to quote my first editor.
In my earlier post, “Life is Like an Onion”, this phrase, in particular, reeks of it; “Like a knife, the sharp pain of my mom’s passing had cut to the immature flower within and exposed these layers which I tenderly peeled away with the written word.” Truth told, there is little tenderness in the writing process. Many rewards, yes, but mostly grueling editing, especially when one is told early on their work is too sentimental. Ouch. It took me a while to see it, but when I did great chunks fell prey to the delete button. I shed no tears for the 30,000 words cut. They needed to die and I’m proud of the finished product.
So keep this in mind as you write, while aiming for the finish line, “You have to be able to kill your babies,” to paraphrase Stephen King. Thankfully, blogs are allowed greater leeway, I think.
So, until the next time, dear readers, and real life characters, please know my life would be so empty without you! Time to wane.