I do love an inspiring memoir, even one that is tragic and sad, as long as there is a flicker of hope! You have to have a curiosity or fascination about people, in general, to want to know about their struggles and achievements. For me, it doesn’t matter if I’m reading it or streaming it; I go all in. Like when I read Carly Simon’s Boys in the Trees, I watched YouTube videos of her and her ex, James Taylor, performing live. About half of one morning, I walked around the house singing their song Mockingbird because it was stuck in my head after replaying the video several times.
What I never expected, however, was to write a memoir of my own. Until recently, it never occurred to me. My goal was to write fiction, and I expressed my views through poetry. Eventually, I realized I had an important story to share, one that could benefit others. Some stories, I believe, can be your gift to leave behind because it’s bigger than you and has the potential to be a lifeline for someone else.
Every single one of us has something to give in that way. I learn from everyone, so I don’t go around with false modesty, thinking no one can learn from me. At the very least, I’ve written something of a cautionary tale.
Just the other day, I noted in a Facebook post that putting ourselves out there, especially in this way, exposes us to criticism no matter what. I wrote, “I’ve read reviews of several memoirs where readers say the author tells the entire story honestly and without complaining, and then other reviewers will say (about the same book) it was nothing but whine, whine, whine. So, I’ve gone through my completed recovery memoir a few times to make sure I don’t sound like a whiny bitch, but I do realize how much perception varies.” 😂
The responses were interesting and encouraging.
A friend said, “I think one of the reasons people read memoirs is to interact with the challenges and important things the author has experienced, things that have caused growth in the author. I think if a reader finds that honesty whiny, then they’re not paying attention, and refusing to get involved, as they read.”
We all, indeed, open these books with a different perspective.
While reading other memoirs, I learned that you have to know your goal in telling the story. To me, it’s obvious when revenge is one of those goals or an urgent need to present one’s side of the story. Some things are written in anger or pain, and I feel fortunate that I’m not in any of those places. I decided that my memoir was about recovery, change, and progression. If I was going to write it, it had to come from a place of love; it had to come from my heart and soul.
I can’t deny that it isn’t a pretty story. It’s tragic and bound to be unsettling, but it’s up to me to find all the beauty in that story because it’s there. It’s not black and white but often overshadowed with grey and interrupted by numerous bursts of color—awe-inspiring, vivid, joyful, and brimming with hope.
No doubt, I will be judged harshly for what I’ve gotten myself into, but that’s okay. 🙂
Further details about my forthcoming book are provided below.
Grateful to Be Alive
My Road to Recovery from Addiction
by D.K. Sanz
Do unsettling truths bring harsh judgment? They do, but the price of denial is steep.
D.K. Sanz’s story begins in the drug-infested New York City streets of Woodside, Queens, during the tumultuous HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s. It offers a glimpse into how a now often-overlooked pandemic impacted Sanz’s nuclear family.
From her earliest days, D.K. was the easily forgotten stranger, always a little out of sync with the rest of the world—a tough but naïve kid and aspiring writer. Her triumph over illness and addiction includes amusing anecdotes and nostalgic, heartwarming memories.
Grateful to be Alive delves deep into Sanz’s confessional self-sabotage, self-destruction, and the harrowing downward spiral she almost didn’t survive. Her never-before-told story ranges from recklessness and impudence to empathy, forgiveness, and love.
D.K. has since published several books, primarily poetry but also a novel, and she continues to work on sequels and an all-new fantasy series. You’ll find some of her poetry at the end of this book.
Whether struggling or not, you will find Grateful to Be Alive is a story of hope, defying insurmountable odds, finding joy, and a gradual transition toward authenticity and becoming the person D.K. always wanted to be.
For those unfamiliar, an ARC is an advanced reader copy provided before publication. Each recipient of an ARC intends to read and review the book. Reviews can be anywhere from one sentence to three or four paragraphs. Ideally, they should appear on Amazon and Goodreads the day the book comes out, likely in February. (I will notify you of the release date.) If it’s posted after that date, the sooner, the better, of course, but days or months later is still good. In other words, there is no rush.
Once given an ARC, you are under no obligation to read or review the book, but, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to request an ARC copy if that’s not your initial intention. In other words, if reading the book causes you to change your mind for any reason, there are no consequences, legal or otherwise.
ARCs are free. Currently, I have them available in Word or PDF formats. Eventually, they will be available on Kindle.
Reviews by ARC readers are posted on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads if the recipient has a Goodreads account.
ARC readers, unlike beta readers, are not expected to provide feedback to the author besides the public review, but feedback is certainly welcome.
To apply for an ARC, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the following questions:
1) Are you familiar with the author’s work? (Just curious, it’s okay if you’re not.)
2) Have you ever reviewed a book by this author?
3) Please briefly explain why this particular book would interest you.
4) Have you reviewed books or products before this request?
5) Do you have an Amazon account?
6) Do you have a Goodreads account?
Unfortunately, I may not be able to accommodate every request, but I thank you in advance for your interest.
Oh, and just for fun, I’ve already created a music playlist for my memoir. You can see it on YouTube for the complete list of 57 songs.
Feature photo at the top (woman sitting on books) by Christine Engelhardt from Pixabay