Neighborhood is a metaphor for the place from which you are birthed into a larger world. As a child, the neighborhood you grow up in is character forming, habit forming, lifestyle forming. That’s not to say that one doesn’t continue to grow and change throughout one’s life, but that initial neighborhood, its inhabitants, and incidents have an influence that can shape the rest of one’s life.
If I write a quasi-memoir of “The Neighborhood” for this year’s Nano, I will tell the story of a boy growing up, a coming of age story. I will include incidents and characters dramatically enhanced to make an appealing story, an engaging story, a story that reaches out to others and helps assuage the trauma sometimes associated with memories that recall discomfort and negative associations. I will also write of glorious events and characters that inspire, that provide the true seeds for growth and future blossoms. I will attempt to provide sufficient humor to elicit warm smiles in others by the joyful memories recalled.
So the question remains if I can produce such a work. Do I have the personal memories to provide the basis for such a story? Can I treat the memories I do have with the proper amount of tenderness they deserve without exploiting them? Will the world thus created be a credible reflection of reality or simply a fabrication deserving no more attention than a pair of dirty underwear lying forgotten in the bottom of the clothes hamper?