I am sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop, with about a dozen other people with their laptops. No one here is socializing, which is why it’s so quiet.
My essay is done. It’s good. I’m very proud of it. It’s taken me a long, long time to feel this way. For the first time, I experienced that writer angst that many people talk about. Until this essay, writing only made me feel good. But for the past two months, writing was pure torture. I knew what I wanted to say, I knew how I wanted it to sound, but I just couldn’t find a way to get there.
I couldn’t find my voice.
Today or tomorrow, whenever there’s time, I will read my essay to my grandmother, who is the heart of the story. I will hope that she likes it, that it reflects her truth accurately and honestly. I interviewed her for at least six hours, taking copious notes during our conversation. But still, I’m nervous. Because her story is being told through my lens. It is taken out of her context, and given my own.
She is in her eighties. I want to do her life justice.
Yesterday, a dear friend emailed me a draft of her own essay. She is not a “writer” but I wanted to include her story in our anthology because it is one that needs to be told. My hands shook while I depressed the cursor through line after line of her reality.
It stirred my soul.
I know next to nothing about how to put together an anthology, but I now know what the hardest part will be– finding an adequate way of thanking these brave, courageous women who have said, “Yes” to our project.
Because “thank you” won’t be nearly enough.