As a writer I know the importance of looking over my manuscript, editing it, choosing better words, phrases, metaphors and even rewriting the plot, the characters, the arc of the story.  I believe the same can be said about living in the real world since I believe every person’s life is like a novel. Some are thrillers, comedies, great works of literature with great events rooted in a historical context. Some tell tales of tragedy and drama, others are less burdened with pain. For all of us the stories of our lives are being told every day. We have the opportunity to change the course of the narrative, or if we remain unconscious about how we have written our story, we are captured by events rather than make choices that direct the arc in a positive direction. What I’m saying is we have the power to rewrite our story, plot lines we may have internalized at some earlier time. When Paul Simon sings “I’m working on a rewrite” he is telling us he’s doing something to change the course of his life.

When you rewrite the story of your life it’s important to notice the original inputs.

Did you receive negative messages from parents or other grownups? Did you have siblings that you either parented or who parented you because your own parents were not available? Did you live through a time of turmoil or trauma? Was war, depression, political upheaval in your background? Did you have an illness or disability that made your childhood either emotionally and/or physically challenging? Did your family stay together and was it a loving family or did you experience the dislocation that comes with divorce, death of a parent(s) and were you raised by persons other than your biological parents? And, what was the quality of that parenting? These events–as well as others– are the early drafts of your narrative.

To create a rewrite consider the following? 1. What were the messages  your caretakers gave you about how to be in the world? 2. What events stand out as crucial to the story? 3. How did you react to the events? 4. What conclusions about yourself  and others did you come to? 5. How did the events of your childhood lead you to a career, a life partner, the choice of where to live, the people you surround yourself with? 6. Did you repeat parental behaviors (divorce, illness, self-care, serving in the armed forces, choice of profession)? 7. Did the early narrative lead you to become adventurous, withdrawn, fearful, courageous, reckless, loving, or bland? Now look at your early draft and decide how you want to change your story. Share your early draft of your proposed rewrite with us.  If you develop writer’s block and you’re having trouble figuring out the direction to go in ask Dr. Ike and he’ll help you with it. As always music about the topic is welcome.

We start off our musical set with the following:


4 thoughts on “Rewrite

  1. Pap Pap to my mother: “Why, your little girl is all skin an bones–don’t you feed her enough?” My mother to me: “Still hungry? Have another piece of cake.” My Grandma to me: “You had a hard test in school today? Here’s another cookie.” My big sister: “They called you ‘Fattie’ again? Here’s 50cents go buy yourself some chocolate, you’ll feel better.” Years later, my boyfriend: “Your job is getting to you, huh? Let’s go out for drinks.” A year after that, my boyfriend leaves and I say to myself: ” It hurts to be alone, I need a quart of ice cream and I know I will feel better.” But I don’t and I say to myself I need cashews. They don’t work. So I go to cheese. It fails me, too. So I go to chips, pretzels, toast with butter, marshmallows, peanut butter on a spoon, chocolate syrup on a spoon. NOTHING FREAKIN WORKS ANYMORE!!!@#$%^%$&$!! At this point I am so stuffed and sick and green that I make myself vomit. I feel exhausted from it all and crash into my bed at 7PM on Friday night and wake up on Saturday feeling more sick and more alone. I think I’ll make a box of Macaroni and cheese for breakfast. I know it will make me feel better.

    1. Marci-Anna, you tell the story of an overeater, a person who uses food to feel better. Tonight, just for a few minutes, before you decide to eat something you know you shouldn’t, find a comfortable chair, breathe deeply and then visualize a rewrite of your story. I found this on you tube

  2. Hey Doc Ike,

    Your topic this week is of interest to me. I paused in my upside down flat to really look around. I got stuff all over the floor, over the table, my closet is bulging with stuff spilling out and I can’t close the door to it. I hate coming home these days because of the mess. I also hate coming home because the creditors are calling my landline 24/7. I have just plain failed at keeping my shopping under control. But it is not just the shopping for clothes, it is over shopping for groceries, too. I got canned goods in those cupboards that expired 3 years or more ago. I suck. I can’t stop. If only I could, my rewrite would be I would never buy more than I really need in the present. I would not have bought 6 pairs of the same jeans so that if one pair became un-wearable for whatever reason I would have an exact another at the ready. And holy crap, what would happen to me if I used up the last can of soup in my cupboard? I would really like to find that out. I bet nothing bad would happen. I think other people just put soup on the grocery list and buy another next trip to the store…..another can, not six identical cans. I wonder what that feels like? I look at magazine inserts that come with the Sunday papers and sigh at the beautiful clutter free designer rooms. I say to myself I am in this terrible state because I am single and once I find “the one” I will downsize and clean up the place. I am 45 and still looking. I can’t invite anyone in because of the mess! I need a re-write and fast as that old clock is ticking away and the hands won’t wait for me. I can’t answer the questions about why I turned out this way, because I don’t know. My entire family is composed of neat freaks. I am the only mess. I need your expert advice. Thanks!

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