Many of us remember November novel writing month. I heard about it and said, What the hell? Do it but start early. [There are a long list of cheaters, cads and horse thieves in the family.]

I began with a novel about my life. I’ve always failed when writing anything factual and completely honest about myself. This was another chance. It didn’t work. My standards were too high; I couldn’t meet them. Perhaps it’s a family limitation.

Maybe I should get religion. If movies are correct Jews talk about all sorts of things, airing feelings and telling one another what’s wrong with life and the with the lives others are living. A lot of what is discussed is true. It frequently happens in the movies that issues, problems and dilemmas are happily resolved for one or another of the actors.

I could become Catholic and confess, but that takes guts to tell a complete stranger wrong deeds and tales of woe. The worst that happens is a requirement to repeat Hail Marys. I’ve seen Hail Marys work on the football field, but a team that relies on them too much isn’t very good. Once again the movies are instructive. I’ve forgotten the title but Stephen Rea is a priest hearing confessions at a church in Ireland. Suddenly the penitent bolts from the booth, and Rea whisks out yelling, “That is disgusting…” Confession is entirely too intimidating.

I don’t believe religion would work for me, due to family limitations.

I did continue to write in November, but not about myself but about my activities: writing. There’s lots of fraud and dishonesty written about writing; I advanced in a very disorderly way. Excelling was a family strength.

The writing was a mess. The longest coherent segment was 500 words. Some were a line: “I’ve never solved a Soduko puzzle.” That is a qualification for proclaiming myself a writer. Part of my approach was reading and researching while writing, and my impressions couldn’t be put anywhere. I wrote about the same subjects the other writers wrote about writing. I had 41,000 words and stopped with days to go in November.

I began cobbling things together in January. I took a break. February, I had productive days. Almost half of it was revised, but what remained needed work and thinking. I glowered at the manuscript for three weeks until Spring 2014, when getting it done was the only job I would do: 35 pages, 12 pages, 20 pages and this morning 2 pages.

From the 41,000 November words, I have 54,000 words, most of which make sense. Part of all the text can be better organized.The amount of work no longer involves the whole manuscript, only chapters. I can’t say what the genre is. There are signs of my life in it, and my impressions of writing. I call it a How-to Memoir. Time and the subconscious will write now. I’ll take another shot at the manuscript in June, when revising won’t take two months.