When I ask my book coaching clients WHY they want to write their story, they typically say something like:
"I want to write the book I wish I had when I was going through X."
I get that.
When I was coming out, I was desperate to read stories of other women who came to terms with their sexuality later in life and how they had navigated that life-altering journey.
Did they stay in or leave their marriages? Could they find a way to live with their longings and not act on them? Was there any path to happiness or was their only path full of pain?
What did they do when everything they thought they knew about themselves was upended?
I wanted to know that it was possible to get to the other side of the bombshell that had exploded in my marriage.
That is, I believe, why we read memoir. Sure, there's the thrill of reading a page-turner, but there's nothing quite like that moment when you feel an author is inside your head, expressing feelings you don't have words for, feelings that you think no one else in the world has ever had.
The list goes on.
When Anne, my best friend from high school and the parent of a young adult child who had recently come out as trans, handed me her copy of SHE'S NOT THERE: A LIFE IN TWO GENDERS by Jennifer Finney Boylan she said:
"I know your situation is different, but I feel like there’s a lot you can relate to in this book.” And boy was she right.
Maybe it was because there weren’t many published coming out memoirs.
Maybe it was because the ones that were published were shelved in the shadows of the "Lesbian & Gay" section of the bookstore and I was afraid of being seen in that section because I wasn't really gay, was I?
Warmth rushed over me as I turned the pages of SHE'S NOT THERE.
Like me, the author had what looked like an idyllic life. A loving spouse. Healthy children. Financial security. And yet ... a persistent drumbeat inside them that this was not the life they were intended to live.
A knowing that was terrifying. A knowing that they wanted to ignore, but couldn't.
I felt less alone. Less crazy. And more hopeful.
That's my hope for GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES, my memoir about my later in life coming out journey.
That my story will be the lifeboat for readers who are questioning their sexuality AND for readers who are contemplating a change at midlife that feels really scary.
Because my story has the potential to change readers' lives.
And so does yours.
Someone out there is waiting for it.
Imagine how you would feel knowing that your story brought hope to someone who was hopeless. Light to someone in darkness. Empowerment to someone who felt powerless. Connection to someone who felt alone.