“We need to go somewhere,” I tell my husband. “Somewhere exotic.” My husband has worked as a flight nurse—doing airplane transfers to remove sick or injured people from remote communities—and plans to do so again. “I need to come with you.”
While I’ve always wanted to add more adventure to life, there are two reasons for this sudden impulse.
First, I’ve just read Anthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome, which chronicles the American author’s year in that city. (During which time he works on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See—and it’s fascinating to learn he procrastinates and feels as unproductive as the rest of us.) My thoughts on this memoir are:
- It’s not about an issue: no alcoholism or kidnapping or Alzheimer’s or abuse. None of these factor in my life—knock on wood—and their absence has always made me think a memoir of my own would be a non-starter.
- It reminds me that while I’ve been focusing on fiction, I’ve got a non-fiction background too; maybe some day a memoir would be the way to go—if I’ve got an adventure to write about.
Second, I read an article about the 15th anniversary of Deborah Ellis’s heralded novel The Breadwinner. The idea for the book came from Ellis’s experiences volunteering in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If I got out there, maybe I’d have fodder for unique fiction too.
Either way—memoir or fiction—I’d win.
“So, what about Africa?” I ask, envisioning myself in the cockpit, tagging along on an emergency evacuation. “Or South America? Or I’ve always wanted to see Iceland…”