Generating Ideas for Writing — Memoirs
What should I write? That is a difficult question that requires some serious thought. I am going to go through the process of generating a few ideas for myself.
I have mentioned the different types of writing that I want to do in a previous post. So it seems reasonable to break it down by category. Memoir ideas will be first.
It seems a little overly self-involved to write a memoir to me, at least about me. That being said I have had some interesting adventures and when I start to tell people about them they usually tell me I should write a book.
The two big ones are climbing Mt. Rainier and the week in Kenya. The reason these stories are both interesting is because they both went horribly wrong. I still think both were really good plans very poorly executed. There was also the two-month road trip through the western US, overall that went a little better.
I had just finished my training for EMT-Specialist at college and had a couple of grand saved up for the next semester. As it turns out, a couple of grand is almost the exact amount that you need to climb Mt. Rainier, so I decided to climb Mt. Rainier instead. I hired guides and rented my equipment online from Rainier Mountaineering. I decided to ride the bus from Michigan to Washington State to save some money. Then, I found out that you can’t rent a car at 19 years old (and this was before peer-to-peer car renting). I figured what-the-heck, why not make it into more of an adventure? I will just get dropped off in Yakima and ride my mountain bike the 100 miles to Ashford (where the luxurious base camp is). Wow, there is going to be a lot to that story. In short, I met some gang members on the bus over the 4 days I was on it, a woman overdosed on there too, I had heat exhaustion alone in a ditch trying to ride a mountain bike with a huge backpack up the desert side of the Cascade Mountains, found out it isn’t necessarily the best climb for a first time climber, had a member of my team get altitude sickness and got left by my guide on a cliff in an avalanche zone because the radio wasn’t working, I got pretty bad altitude sickness at the summit and didn’t want to go on, one of my legs dropped in a little crevasse coming down, my boots were full of blood by the time we made it to the bottom, I hitched a ride to Tacoma where my bus was leaving from, I was dropped off in the middle of the night and scared some people by the way I looked, I found a bad motel to stay in, and I had to leave my mountain bike against a fence before starting the three day ride home. I ran out of money on my last day on the bus buying beef jerky.
Originally I had planned a global adventure. A day in Amsterdam, a month-long micro-lending internship in Kenya, a day in Dubai, a couple of days in Bangkok, and a year in Laos being a partner in a jungle tour company. The internship was canceled right before I left, but I was going anyway. In my first week in Kenya I was offered three wives, poisoned, locked in a hotel room from the outside with bars on the windows while vomiting blood and barely (if) able to stand, had some money conned out of me, was told I was going to die, was coerced into working a farm, and had to do a little escape. My mom actually saved my life by calling and threatening people. I had to fake being okay to take an international flight to get back. There were a few other crazy things in there, but that is the gist. Then I went through two antibiotic treatments, they did the tests wrong so we don’t even know what I had, then I still didn’t get fully better. I found out I have several spinal deformities, tried to get help and kept coming up short. Finally, 17 months later a chiropractor helped me press the atlas vertebrae that was pushing into my brainstem back into a more appropriate position. In the middle of those 17 months I traveled across the country for a month-long trial at a computer programming school in Silicon Valley that I found while I was searching online for memory tests (because I was having memory loss issues in addition to heart issues, shaking hands, and a bunch of other stuff). I also visited a cousin in California for a couple of weeks, an older sister in Nebraska for a month (that I found out about a few years ago from accidental DNA testing), got a TESOL certification and started teaching English online, and rode a train across the country (in addition to a few other things like going to the Ozark Mountains). Maybe those 17 months could be a whole other story in themselves.
The road trip is something that a girlfriend and I did when we were moving to Washington State to work at Mt. Rainier. I will save those adventure stories for another time.
Wow, I didn’t realize how many of these stories I really have. I will have to explore them more. I also have still have to go through the other five categories that I am interested in. You can follow along at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com