Parallel Journeys

I’m on the homestretch of a deep, final edit of my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, and have found this the most fascinating part of the entire writing journey. The draft topped out at 115,000 words and my goal has been to reduce the manuscript to about 95,000, or less, words.

Today I broke through the 100,000 milestone and closed out the day at 99,902 words. I cup-of-teacelebrated with a cup of tea! Now, with seven chapters remaining to edit, I know I’ll meet my goal. As the words melt away while I focus on one paragraph and then the next, my writing becomes more concise and I can both sense and see the story transforming  from an adolescent phase of writing into a mature form. It’s exhilarating.

On another note, some of you know I’ve been working at losing weight. (That story is here.) As I worked out on my treadmill yesterday morning, part of walking my ten thousand steps daily, I had a sudden thought:  my manuscript and I – we are both slimming down.

Such a good feeling!

Wishing you each a fine weekend.

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I grew there in so many ways and today I'm a long-time editor for the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal, as well as a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site, another unique place in cyberspace. Then, next year, I’ll again be honored to be program chair for our Stories from the Heart national conference in Austin, TX. I have so many loves: first, my three children: my son, Chip and daughter, Polly, both in Virginia; and my youngest daughter, Susan, in Florida, and also dear family and friends. I must also include my cats Hilary (20) and Button (5). Sometimes I foster cats and kittens for the Humane Society, but Button prefers me not to. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. Now, all these years later, I believe I've sliced through the layers to reach the heart of my story, and am presently working on the final revision of my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life.
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6 Responses to Parallel Journeys

  1. Congratulations, Mary Jo. You are on a roll!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan rosher says:

    GO girlfriend !!! Congratulations!!! I am so happy for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Jo Doig says:

    Thank you so much, Marjorie! It’s been a long time coming!

    Like

  4. marthagw says:

    Looking forward to reading your slimmed down memoir one day, Mary Jo!

    Liked by 1 person

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