Everybody seems to be writing their memoirs these days. Heck, even people who don’t really have anything important to report about themselves re-invent and embellish their lives to make a living with a book about it. I wouldn’t even have to do that. I would just start writing and I bet I wouldn’t have to add and invent a thing – my book would fly off the shelves. My book would be the whole truth, so much truth that it would probably ruin the lives of a couple of people if I would use their real names. Maybe even my own.
I’d start writing about how I moved around the world and the people I met. I’d write about the guys and the girls, and the way I see this world and how I grew and learned and how I am all different from how I was then, and my experiences, and I would write about how I always wanted to write about what I learned, and how I think what I learned changed my life. And then every day of my life I would add a couple of pages about the new stuff that happens right then and there, and the book would never end, and I bet people would still want to read it and I would have to put a column in some newspaper, and they’d say, ‘Hey, for a German girl, she sure knows her English!’
One reason why I never started this book and why I probably never will is that I don’t really know in which language I should write it.
German is the language in which I am most comfortable in. I would be able to use little word games and phrases and stuff that only German people can understand, and it would make the whole book a lot more fun to read, because it would be witty and sarcastic. I’m just more sarcastic when I speak German. But then when I speak German, I am also a lot more crude and edgy, and I wouldn’t be able to really express my feelings, because my feelings I can always ever express in another language, for example Italian. Yeah, I’d like to write my book in Italian… but only the parts that happened in Italy would be really well written in Italian. The Canadian parts would sound so funny and strange … “burro di arachidi” instead of “peanut butter”… give me a break. That’s just nuts. So in the end, the language that I should use would be English, and that’s where the whole story falls apart, because my English sucks and it will never be good enough to write a book that someone wants to publish… so why go through all the effort of writing a book that nobody will ever get to read? Oh well, maybe I’ll just write it so my son can read it one day, and learn from my mistakes and laugh about my goofiness, and cry about the sadness that came along with me across the world, from one end to the other. And I would write it just for him. So that he knows what his mom is made of, and how I ended up where I am and why I am who I am. I might give him the 900 letters that his dad and I exchanged before meeting each other, although some of them I can only give him after he’s 21. I might tell him that it would be great if he found someone that will make him happy, but in the end, he is going to be the only one that will be able to make himself happy after all, and how this little piece of advice is the most important one that anybody will ever be able to give him, and while everybody knows, only few really appreciate the truth in this sentence.
Yeah, my book would be deep. Deep, but funny. Funny but sad. Sad, but boring and of course, the grammar would be crappy.
Ok, the grammar will be crappy, but that’s me. It won’t improve anytime soon, so better get used to it. Also, I don’t have an extended vocabulary. I speak street English, the stuff you hear all day. Not the stuff you read in a book or hear in the news. I will use words like “crap” and “hell” and “friggin” all the time, and although no serious book should ever use these words unless they are spoken by some characters in them, while they are pointing a gun or a hack saw at some other characters in the same book, saying something like “What the heck are you doing with that friggin’ hack saw??”, I do use those words in real life all the time, even when I think. I think, ‘Crap, that was a stupid thing to say!’, and that’s why I write it that way. Yeah, I know my son will read this too, but by the time he gets to read this, he’s going to be old enough that ‘crap’ won’t be the worst word in his vocabulary.
What about punctuation? Oh, I am SO not worried about that. There are no rules for punctuation in English anyway. There are, you say? Sure, whatever. 99.9% of the “regular” English speaking population is not aware of those rules. They use commas like pepper in a pepper shaker, sprinkling one here and one there, adding the occasional semicolon to spice it all up and forget the period at the end of the sentence. What can you expect from people who only use lower case letters all the time? What a waste. Why even invent the upper case if you will only use them for names, countries, and at the beginning of a sentence…? Just kidding. Well, not really. I like making fun of these things. The different things. The things that are not the way they used to be when I was little and when I lived elsewhere and spoke other languages and ate different foods and watched different shows on TV. When I lived where it was absolutely acceptable to have only one bath a week, and nobody needed to wash their hair every day. And where a woman with armpit hair wasn’t an abomination and no bathroom was without a bidet. Oh, you want to know what a “bidet” is? I’ll get to that later, I promise.
My book will be long. It will have hundreds of pages. But I will take forever to finish it. I might only be able to write on it on saturdays, when my husband is already asleep, around midnight or so. Some weekends I won’t be able to write at all, because I’m too tired, or too bored, or I have no pinch of creativity in my veins. I want a book that is fun to read, and I want my book to be real, so Oprah won’t get mad at me after she introduced it to her book club just to find out afterwards that whatever impressed her so much about it were all lies, and she’ll get pissed off at her research department for not doing a better job at researching the stories, but hey, how should they have known that people these days INVENT their lives to be able to write a book about themselves that will actually sell. No Oprah, don’t worry – my book will be all true, 100%. Then again, maybe you should be worried, Oprah. Worry, because this fabulous, fantastic yet true life story will never hit the shelves. What a shame. It would have been perfect for your book club. But it will take forever to be written, because I’m going to bed now, and I will write some more next Saturday. And then, who knows if inspiration will meet me again here at my desk, while my husband is snoring upstairs, and the fridge will be humming quietly behind me as I am typing and my fingers are getting colder and stiffer because the furnace will have shut down hours earlier, and I slowly realize that inspiration has also shut down because what I am writing doesn’t make any sense anymore compared to earlier, when I wasn’t writing about stiff fingers but bidets and hairy armpits. This book will truly take forever, and it might not be such a shame after all.