Pamela Dyson Unpublished Interview Archives, Part 3: Writing and Writing
I started the writing almost 12 years earlier and I can't really recall if my intention was to write this whole story, this memoir. I was writing based on a concept of “crucial events.” I'd read about how you should write about crucial events in your life, so that's why there's a blend of events in the story, Lake Joy and My Little Girl. Those were very crucial, transformative events for me. I knew that I wanted to use dialogue, and have it read like a novel, because one of the ways I love to learn is through historical novels. I really like to be taken into a period of time and to identify with historical characters, rather than just read a dry narrative history.
My writing group was always limited to six people. We read our piece of the day when we met, usually once a week, and we'd give each other reflection and feedback. Over the years I would get so much response from the people in the group, saying “You have got to put this out in a book. This is outrageous.” I would say, “Yeah, I guess it is, but I don't know if I would be willing to do that.” And after years of self-reflection, growth, learning, therapy, Buddhism, and all kinds of processes, I recognized that I could put it out only after I had achieved a level of perspective and a kind of neutrality, and that I would have to communicate from that place.
My writing group was always limited to six people. We read our piece of the day when we met, usually once a week, and we'd give each other reflection and feedback. Over the years I got so much response from the people in the group, saying “You have got to publish your story. It is outrageous and very unique.” I would say, “Yeah, I guess it is, but I don't know if I would be willing to do that.” Amidst years of self-reflection, growth, learning, therapy, exposure to Buddhist teachings, and all kinds of processes, I recognized that I would only be willing to publish after I had achieved a perspective, a freedom from the need to tell people what to think.
I wasn't willing to do an attack piece. I wasn't willing to do something that came off as though it was an exposé or a tell-all. In the process of my years in the writing group I was learning to be more and more authentic, as people gave me reflection and feedback and asked questions. I wasn't working on it constantly in those twelve years. In fact, I put it down for several years at a time, concluding that I absolutely was NOT going to publish it.
I actually couldn't imagine that it was going to be this impactful. I kept trying to determine, “Will it do more harm than good or more good than harm?” Always, just like I reveal in my book, I have these great conflicting voices of judgment.
I worked on this book, and this book worked on me. As much as I had worked out and cleared before I began the writing, it took another level of work and clearing to complete the book. It's been out there one month now, and up until a few weeks ago I would say the response has been so affirming and positive: how much people were being impacted, how grateful they are, and the acclaim for the writing itself. All of that has honestly really surprised me. I really worked hard to put it in the right perspective, but to have all of that positive response -- I have been amazed.
TO BE CONTINUED...
 Interview with Pamela Saharah Dyson, February 12, 2020