“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” Jim Valvano
When I started reading Jonna Ivin’s memoir, Will Love for Crumbs, I literally could not put it down. Here’s my Amazon review. I am thrilled to have Jonna describe how her memoir writing helped her to heal and find a positive direction in her life. Jonna is also over at The Heart and Craft of Lifewriting being interviewed by Sharon Lippincott this week so be sure to stop by there for more insights into memoir writing and Will Love for Crumbs.
No More Crumbs.
When I decided to write my memoir Will Love For Crumbs I didn’t fully know what direction it would take. I knew the events that had occurred in my life that I wanted to write about, but I didn’t know what it all meant. And then one day as I sat at my computer I typed out the line, “I was so ready and willing to hand my life over, just waiting for that hero to come along and make it all better. I might as well have worn a sign around my neck that read: Will Love for Crumbs.” I stopped and stared at the words I had written and two things hit me. One, I’d just found the title of my book, and two, I’d just discovered what had been holding me back in my life. I had been sitting in the backseat of my own life, hoping someone would come along and drive me to where I wanted to be.
It was a rude awakening. The word that I couldn’t shake from my mind was: Will. I wasn’t “forced” to Love for Crumbs. Seeing the word “will” changed everything. It meant that all this time, I wasn’t a helpless victim that bad things happened to. I had been a willing participant in every aspect of my life. “Will” means I made a choice, and I had chosen to accept less than.
I thought about all the times I had submitted my writing for someone else’s consideration and if a rejection letter came in the mail, I shrank and gave up. I didn’t fight back by sending out more queries, writing more stories, or becoming more determined. I quit. I quit because I was willing to let another person dictate my worth. They said no, so I guessed it would be no. I never challenged why their opinion meant more than mine. I just accepted it and stayed stuck.
That afternoon as I sat at my desk reading my own words I felt weak. I felt small and insignificant. But then it dawned on me that if I had lived my life up to this point willing to accept less, then maybe I could spend the rest of my life willing to accept more. It was my choice. As crazy as it sounds, I had never really thought about having choices in my life. Growing up with an alcoholic mother, I came to believe at a young age that God simply threw bad things my way, and I just had to take it.
But what if I didn’t just take it? What would happen if I was no longer willing to settle for less? What would happen if I decided to make progressive decision about my life instead of passively reacting to it? What if I got out of the backseat, took the wheel and guided myself down the road to my future? Maybe I would get lost. Maybe I would crash and burn or maybe, just maybe, I would go on an adventure I never knew was possible.
Something in me changed that day. I knew then that my memoir would be published. It was entirely up to me when and how it happened as long as I was willing to keep writing, keep working, and keep moving forward. Suddenly, just like that I became the motivating force behind my own life. During the writing process there were times when reliving certain experiences was uncomfortable even painful, but it was my choice to do so. That made all the difference. I didn’t need to wallow in my own misery. I could either write about it or not write about it. I could push through or I could quit.
It all came down to what I was willing do. And more than anything I was willing to tell my story. Being willing is the first step.
Raised by an alcoholic mother and without a father, Jonna learned at a young age to put her needs on the back-burner. After her mother dies of cancer, she goes on a spiritual journey looking for enlightenment and a purpose for her life. Eventually, she ends up as a volunteer in the relief effort following Hurricane Ike. There she meets a man that will forever change her life.
In the swamps of Louisiana and the hills of Arkansas, Jonna follows her heart to build a life with an American hero – a 20 year veteran of the Army Special Forces. Only after uprooting her whole life, leaving everything and everyone she knows behind, do the pieces of this fairytale start to unravel. Realizing the man of her dreams is actually the stuff of nightmares; Jonna must once again go within and discover why she is a woman willing to love for crumbs.
Jonna Ivin currently lives in Vancouver, Washington. She is busy working on the film adaptation of Will Love For Crumbs and editing Loving For Crumbs – An Anthology.
Will Love for Crumbs can be ordered on Amazon in paperbook or ebook format
Jonna can be reached at:
Thank you Jonna for sharing how writing your memoir helped you define a new path for your life~ one that put you in charge of your own choices.
Has writing ever helped you to clarify your life direction? Was there a moment when you decided to ” be the motivating force behind your own life?”
We welcome your thoughts and questions for Jonna. Please join in the conversation by leaving your comments below~
Next Week: Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia will launch a three-week series on platform-building and marketing for writers in response to your requests from the self-publishing series with Rebecca Bricker and Boyd Lemon.