Yes, I do.
I have two works currently in progress. I’ve written about them before, and posted about them on Facebook, but it’s my hope that some of you reading this are new to me and what I do. So here’s a condensed version.
I’m working on a cooking memoir. I’ve made an attempt before to write a cookbook, because so many people have asked for my recipes, but the biggest problem I ran into was wanting a different format than the software I was using at the time. It was too cut and dried, and I wanted anyone who was going to cook from my book to feel as if we were in the kitchen together. (And I can tell you why, too: Peg Bracken and her “I Hate to Cook Book,” even though I’ve always loved to cook!) When I started cooking at camp, the requests for recipes increased, and since I returned to that work last year, the time is most definitely NOW. Actually, I think I have more than one cookbook in me….
Cooking memoirs are a big thing now and a writer friend told me they aren’t going away anytime soon (thank you, Kelsey Timmerman!) And this is definitely the way these particular recipes need to be shared. It’s fun to write, because the recipes were created long ago, though of course I am double-testing each one to be sure they’re consistent–and some of them have to be rewritten altogether, since they are but a list of ingredients scribbled down with ‘combine in the usual manner’ at the bottom. Not so very helpful for one who doesn’t routinely make cookies 24 dozen at a time! Mostly what I have to finish is the weaving together of how the recipes came to be and who would like them, and why. I guess you could compare it to doing the quilting, once the top has been designed and pieced together. (And if I’m lucky, it’ll be beautifully illustrated, as well; I am not the artist in mind, though. We shall see.)
The other thing is the novel I have been working on for some time, not in the ‘if I could just quit my job I could write a novel,’ either. I actually had it and its sequel fairly well finished when an agent expressed interest in it, told me I was not writing a pair and what I needed to do to blend the two and then send her a synopsis and a couple of chapters. After I changed it all so radically, she told me it wasn’t for her. Kind of knocked the props right out from under me, but I’ve come to understand that it says a lot for what I’d written that she would even want to look at it, because it was not the kind of work she wrote herself, nor was it the kind of thing she helped to publish. So there had to be something there that was interesting enough to check it out.
I set it completely aside for a while, and then, on the advice of another good friend and writer, gutted it and ‘took it back.’ It’s my own book again, the way I initially envisioned it, and it’s going to be good. And I AM going to find the right person who wants to publish it. There may well be two books again, as I’d originally thought….time will tell.
I’d like to publish a book that is all my own poetry. I have poems published in an anthology, but I want a book that is entirely mine.
I had never thought of myself as writing non-fiction, beyond the cookbook, but I have had many, many people tell me that I absolutely must tell the story of my daughter’s adoption. It is a special story, a very long journey, and I can see, now, how it might be uplifting for others who wait and pray and hope. For my daughter is definitely the answer to much prayer, and just as clearly she, and only she, was the child God intended to be mine all along. So there will have to be a Betsy book.
There might be a book on dealing with domestic violence, a dark chapter in my past. There might also be a book on dealing with bipolar disorder, a permanent part of my life. Both books were suggested and encouraged by counselors and other professionals who helped me through, and after, these two things that changed and shaped my life. The biggest reason? they changed me, true: but they do not define me.
I have also made some notes on a book about the women in my family. There were, and are, some amazing ones.
And that’s just for starters. Like every other to-do list I have, I know that once I cross the top line out, I’ll be adding another one at the bottom!