Next month I celebrate two years since the publishing of my personal memoir, Running Away: A Memoir of a Bishop’s Son (Westbow Press, March 4, 2015). There have been some definite highs and lows since the release of my first book. I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t turn out to be a best seller on the New York Times Best Sellers List nor into a Lifetime tv special. It was a labor of love. It is my story, a story that I wanted to tell and share with friends, family, and anyone interested in knowing about the life of being raised as a PK’s son (preacher’s kid).
It took nearly three years to write my memoir—starting and stopping—along the way to completion. It was a stressful and often lonely, and painful process. Making a personal decision to tell my story was indeed a difficult choice; however, memoirs aren’t worth much to anyone except to the family members whose names are cited and recalled as characters in the telling of one’s lived experience.
What to write, include or omit in telling my story became an act of “truth-telling.” American musician, singer-songwriter and actress, Jane Wiedlin said, “It is scary to be truthful, and it’s scary to reveal yourself . . .” The pages I deleted before the final version could become a book within themselves. Fear of revealing, writing, or saying too much could become painfully true. Critically, whenever I wrote something I would ask myself, “Do I need to write or say this? Would this be helpful or hurtful to me the author, or to the person or persons I’m writing about? I was my greatest critic and judge.
Thankfully I was able to finish writing my book. Author and historian, Anders Rydell makes the important point that books are not just property, they are “keepers of memories.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” Writing is my passion, however hopefully I will be able to achieve both in life, that is, “something worth readying and something worth writing about.”—ULYSSES STEPHEN KING, JR.