The Adventures of Writing a Memoir – When All Balls Drop

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Many travel bloggers along their journeys write a book or a series of travel guides. This year, I, too, join their ranks with a memoir, When All Balls Drop. Although my blog’s theme is adventure travel, my book is not travel related. However, it does tell a story of one heck of an adventure. When All Balls Drop is my true story of losing it all: health, love, and career. The title and themes may lead one to believe it’s full of despair and frustration. On the contrary, it’s a powerful chronicle of change and recovery with much hope and a good dose of the same sass and humor as this blog.

Heidi_Siefkas_Evil_Tree_in_Poughkeepsie_New_York

Heidi Siefkas Next to Tree Limb in Poughkeepsie, New York 2009

I started sharing pieces of my story on this blog in 2009. In October, only a month after my accident, I posted Ms Injured Pants – Tackled by Tree in New York.  Later on in 2010, I used this blog as a platform to unveil Look Up Day, which is the holiday that I created to remember the lessons from my accident and life-change. Look Up Day is celebrated every 27th. Mark it on your calendar!

By 2011, once healthy again, I went about adventuring around the world. I took a walkabout to South America: hiking Torres del Paine, wine tasting in Mendoza, and tangoing through Buenos Aires. The following year, I moved to Alaska for a summer of hiking, kayaking, and camping amongst what I call nature on steroids. How could I top that? I spent over seventy days in Cuba in 2013, admiring its beauty, music, and rum while embracing its people, culture, and challenges. Then, I decided to make a move to the Pacific, hanging my hat in Kauai.

Upon ringing in the New Year in Lihue,  I resolved to complete my book and release it to coincide with the fifth anniversary (9/27/14) of the very accident that sparked my life-change. From January to March, I reread my handwritten journal entries, the two blog posts highlighted above, and a fifty-page word document of draft vignettes from my recovery. I also talked to my friends and family (my clan) that were by my side during that trying time. Prior to departing on a three-week adventure to New Zealand and Australia at the end of March, I turned in a rough draft to my editorial team and selected my cover design. Boy, was I ready to have a break as writing my story was painful. I relived the gamut of emotions from almost in tears one minute to fuming mad the next.

At the end of the three weeks Down Under, I received my first review from the editorial team while awaiting my flight home from Sydney to Lihue. I used the flight to read and process the work needed ahead. It was clear I must add more color, description, vignettes to fill the holes in the timeline, and of course humor. 

With a revolving door of visitors, one of the hazards of living in paradise, and the loud roosters, I failed to have a final manuscript ready by mid-May. Then, a family emergency called. I needed to return to South Florida to help my father. In late May, my father had open heart surgery. However, while in the hospital, he suffered a mild stroke.

As I sat beside my father, feelings of my own hospital experience were rekindled.  Once again in a hospital, this time not the patient, I polished my first vignettes adding sounds and vivid description of the surroundings that were blurred from my personal experience. When my father progressed with his homecoming and continued rehabilitation out of the hospital, I revisited portions of my adventure whether my return to Florida after four, unplanned months in New York and Massachusetts as well as my need for independence. Over the past two months, I relived my story again. 

So enough about the multiple adventures and hospital stays!

I’m happy to share with you two announcements:When_All_Balls_Drop_Heidi_Siefkas

1) My father is getting better each week!

2) When All Balls Drop is currently at the printer! Its expected release is in September.

Thank you (Mahalo) to all of you that were with me throughout the entire five year adventure. For those that are new to my adventure, welcome. I would like to extend a special gift to you, a free 40-page excerpt of When All Balls Drop pre-release.

Just sign up here with your email.

Here’s to more good times and good stories.

 

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