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Beta Testing and Sensitivity Training

Rene’s Memoir— still a work in progress 

I promised I would write about my never-ending memoir project which I started around 1997.  A few months ago, I thought I was done, ready to send the thing out, 75,000 words, to see if I could find an agent and/or publisher. One last step—have beta readers look at it. 

Without going into details, I was humbled.

Two-thirds of the manuscript were okay, but the first hundred pages—oh, dear. There was a feeding frenzy over one chapter in particular because I was labelled a fat shamer. Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve had weight issues my entire life, I was writing about myself as well as a patient. Having your work handed back to you with inferences that were never intended is a hard pill to swallow. Let’s just say I don’t want to do battle with the sensitivity editors and will listen. I changed the evil words, I think I got them all, but time will tell. 

A memoir differs from a biography in that it is about a specific time period or event. A biography is a compilation of events and circumstances in a person’s life without the reflection and meaning made of experiences that are part of memoir writing. 

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I left medicine when I was forty-seven years old. It was too soon. I entered practice when I was thirty-three.

As I neared the end of my practice, I felt as if I was attending a wake. My patients came bearing gifts of plants and food. They sent cards and small gifts. It was the saddest celebration I’ve ever attended, to know I made a difference for them, but was leaving. 

I miss them.

Since I’m still searching for a good title, I will simply call this project my memoir until I give it a name. 

Stay tuned. There is more.


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