"You mean true?"
Three sessions ago, I began reading my 180-page, unpublished, coming-of-age memoir to my therapist. I've never enjoyed therapy so much.
She claims she's not bored and that it's like listening to a story about a child other than me -- I'm up to age 11 now. During this third reading, I did ask aloud, "Is this boring?"
"I'm not bored. I'm just wondering how veridical it is....There's factual history and there's narrative history. I mean, it's just so detailed. How could anyone remember all that?"
"Well, you know that my family has filled in some of the blanks, but my mother and I both have exquisite memories...."
"And I'm getting such a kick out of your love of rocks," she said, commenting on a focus of the section I read during that session.
"Yeah, it was fun for my friend Amy and me to be the only children who were members of the Stamford Mineralogical Society."
"The time your parents took you to the quarry -- you said that you didn't have enough time with your father, [since he died when I was 17] but you did have some special times with him."
Reading this memoir aloud is the best therapy I've ever had because it:
- Helps me see the ways in which my family was present/attentive, growing up
- Makes me laugh and/or smile about events that I don't recall in my daily life
- Shows me how funny I am as a writer, but more so in how I've led my life since babyhood, e.g, when I was four and asked my mom to buy me a can of spinach to carry around, so I could pretend I was Popeye, and how disappointed I was that no one got it
- Covers birth to age 30, and shows me what was most important to me during those formative years.