You know how to become a millionaire?
You start with a million bucks.
You know how you get a book published?
You start with a published book.
And not just any book, but one that's sold a million copies, was on the NY Best Seller's List or had a major scandal surrounding it and then sold a million copies.
I'm all for the long haul, hard work and all that jazz. And most of the time I've believed the sermon about in order to get a book published you have to have talent and perseverance, and luck doesn't hurt. But more and more people who are famous and who can deliver an audience get a book contract. Nicole Richie (Lionel Richie's daughter), Lauren Conrad from "The Hills," and the Kardashian's all have "written" books and have had them published. That's it. I need to be the daughter of someone famous or get my own reality TV show to get my memoir published. I need to be Britney Spears.
There are certainly average Joes (Josephinas) or plain Janes (Johns) who have done something spectacular that has warranted a publishing contract. Elizabeth Gilbert ate, prayed and loved her way through three countries, James Frey had his teeth extracted from his skull without pain killers (and then we found out this was mostly fabricated. Frey probably wished his extraction story was true when Oprah outed him on her show. Ouch!) and John Krakauer climbed Mount Everest and lived to tell about it. Some other writers have had incredible--not in a good way but somehow these authors have turned them around--childhoods like Mary Karr, Jeannette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.
I think that's my problem, I'm average. I'm a suburban mom with three kids. I write about my children and how I've tried to grow them (they really have grown me) and how I'm trying to do what every mom on the planet does, let go. I haven't had to struggle through letting go of a child with a drug addiction like in "Beautiful Boy" or a bipolar daughter as in "Hurry Down Sunshine."
Ironically, my life is where I've always wanted it to be. I had a colorful and chaotic childhood and I dreamed that one day my life would be boring. Just for the record, my life is not dull. But if boring means a monthly paycheck, a mortgage, having a healthy and happy family, well then maybe it is.
I think I need to start fictionalizing my memoirs like James Frey. Instead of my memoir, LETTING GO: A MOTHER'S STORY, being about Molly going away to college, it could be about how I discover Molly is a vampire. The story would then focus on how I have accept her being out all night and sucking blood (Is that what these vampires do nowadays?). I'm writing a new memoir about how to blend a family. BORING, right? So instead of the memoir being about blending a regular, ol' family I'll write about how I marry an alien and have a half alien baby. The struggle is how to get the girls to accept this new brood (colony?). Now there's a story...
Maybe I need to find trouble, go to prison and write about it. Maybe I need to sleep with my husband every day for a year and write a memoir...oh, that's been done. Maybe I need to change my name to something exotic and ethnic or to Britney Spears. Or maybe I need to hunker down and write what I know, send it out there, and when it gets rejected, send it back out again. Maybe I need to cash in on that Irish luck.