When I started writing it, I was just throwing random memories onto the page. Just to see them again, to see Layne's eyes, hear Hal's voice...
But I've realized since that, hey, stuff like this gets published. Memoirs. Drug memoirs. Photogenic female-author drug memoirs. And crystal meth is the drug of the moment.
But I stalled out, looking at that. Because it's one thing to arrange a bunch of memory-snapshots on a page, but another to write a memoir. A memoir is more than a series of images. A memoir needs a path.
I don't know what path it wants.
What is Walking on Water about? Is it about crystal meth? Is it about the lives of and marginalization of addicts? Or is it about me?
If it's about me, is it a horror story, or a love story? A love affair with the drugs, with Layne, the platonic love of the circle of us that gathered that year and were shattered?
Or is it the story of the shattering?
Twelve years. Twelve years ago. I went to Vegas. These dizzying things happened. I left Vegas. And I have never again been the same girl.
And I had no choice. That is one of the things I fixate on - I had no choice but to leave.
All of us - something was there, something was building, and it shattered, and we had no choice.
And I can trace that shattering, of course I can. The epicenter is clear. Me, walking, upon a clear June midnight. A boy. A car.
The rape shattered me, and that shattered everything.
(And you wonder why I use glass and broken glass so much in Shayara?)
How can I choose the path? It's larger than a path. It's life. I could write about it impersonally... or I could dive, hyperfocus.
If I narrow it all down to the one shaping event. The rape could be the entire book. One night. Dig my fingernails, cracked and bleeding, into the fault lines, and pull them apart, and tell. everything. (But who could endure reading it?)
What Vegas was about was me running.
What Vegas was about was finding Home, and losing it.
What Vegas was about was me with a death wish, doing everything I could to destroy myself, and finding out on one June midnight, naked and bleeding and sore and so calm with his hand on the gun, how much I did not want to be destroyed.