I'll Be There to Write the Story by Maria Weber
I’ll Be There to Write the Story is a memoir about healing the unfinished relationship with Maria’s mother, Louise E. Weber, a poet and mystic, whom Maria did not fully appreciate until after her death. As Maria read her mother’s unpublished poetry, she discovered Louise’s intimate thoughts and feelings, which helped her understand Louise. By writing poetry back to her mother, Maria erased the simmering grudges she had nurtured for decades.
The book grew organically, like a volunteer zucchini in the garden. Maria didn’t plan to write it. After her mother’s death in 1997, Maria simply read all her mother’s poetry—six hundred poems of varying lengths. Louise wrote poetry all her life. Maria then thought she should grant her mother’s wish for a self-published poetry book by doing that for her, and before she knew it, Maria was writing the story of their mother-daughter relationship. The story then took on a life of its own, as stories sometimes do. Maria’s story became their story, then Maria’s story, then their story again (with Louise on the Other Side). Things became a little weird and we won’t spoil it for you by saying more.
Indeed, Louise had a different agenda from Maria’s. One of Maria’s readers even suggested that she include Louise’s name on the cover as co-author. Louise’s voice, in prose and poetry, is almost as present as Maria’s in this memoir. Maria willingly shares the stage.
From the Other Side, Louise also reached out to her daughter’s hand as she created spontaneous artwork—a talent they both shared. Although Maria was intrigued with the novelty of automatic drawing, she was also confused and bewildered. To grasp the source of her guided artwork, Maria studied the connections between automatism, art and spirituality. She also turned to shamanic journeying and mediums to clarify what it was that her mother was trying to tell her—and the world—from the Other Side.
Maria decided to make the memoir interactive because it occurred to her that, if she were a reader, she would want to know how to do many of the activities the author described, such as intuitive drawing. As a curious reader, Maria would want to see if she could do that herself. So, as author of the memoir, Maria provided “try-this-at-home” instructions in the areas of art and writing. Some exercises require scissors and glue. To complement the last chapters where readers cannot easily duplicate Maria’s experiences, she devised exercises that use oracle cards.
This sixty-page Workbook, included at the end, was inspired by Susan Zimmerman’s book, Writing to Heal the Soul. Zimmerman included writing exercises at the end of each chapter of her personal story about her disabled daughter. People who read Maria’s manuscript felt the exercises would better suit readers if they were separated from the story. She included tips and resources for each chapter so readers can follow her path, if they choose to. The workbook might even be a stepping-stone for readers to begin writing their own memoirs.
To write memoir, one needs to mine the memory. One is allowed to use fiction to fill in the spaces that one cannot remember clearly. Therefore, it is acceptable to create fictional dialog that approximates what might have happened. Maria has followed that path, while trying to capture the truth as she remembered it. It was never her intention to embellish beyond what really happened.