Memoir in progress… for 13 years

memoirI’ve attempted writing projects off and on for much years. Much.

I once wrote 50 pages into a Civil War historical fiction. And then I read it. Silly me.

I get excited about other ideas for some amazing novel and start out, writing a chapter or two. That’s when I remember: writing is hard.

For years, I have been toying with the idea of writing about the summer I sold books door-to-door. It was a summer full of stories, living with two college women, more than a dozen others in the same state in our sales group, working alone, knocking on strangers’ doors, living in Pennsylvania, being 19-years old.

When I started writing about it, I actually wasn’t familiar with the memoir genre. I wondered how I could twist a plot out of the figurative shoebox full of memories so that I had a format for a novel. Who needs a plot, though, right?

I have notes strewn everywhere about this summer. I saved some of the letters from my friends (remember when we wrote letters?), the receipts and records from business transactions, my hand-drawn maps on splotchy yellow legal pads, and have written list after list of moments. Below are some of those moments. Do they sound enticing enough to YOU to batch together into a memoir?

  • eating breakfast every morning at Chris’s Country Kitchen
  • dropping Deb (roommate) off in “downtown” Chambersburg our first day of work
  • carrying a poem in my pocket most days
  • bruised/swollen knuckles
  • first big sale on the day I was sick with the runs
  • Hiding in Ambyr’s trunk (other roommate)
  • eating lunch on the Susquehanna River
  • falling asleep on the front lawn of a preschool teacher
  • tornado near Lancaster
  • doing cartwheels on someone’s front lawn on a 6-sale day
  • playing volleyball in the Marion, PA trailerpark
  • watching the fireworks on July 4th
  • a day trip to Gettysburg
  • the smells of Hershey, PA
  • Ambyr winning the Britney-Spears-lookalike contest at the mall


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