Someone once told me that I’m not (yet) courageous enough to do something awesome. When I sit down to write my personal essays and narratives (a sort of sequel to My Pen, My Voice), I realize that said person was right. I remember hurting the feelings of a few people by what I wrote in my first book and I can’t see the second one making things any better. I mean, a memoir is only one side of the story right? Am I ready to share that side? I know that I could never share things like Robin Rinaldi in her memoir The Wild Oats Project no matter how many people might be going through the same thing.
In my early forties, when I realized I was never going to have children, I decided I needed to belatedly sow my wild oats, a phase I’d skipped in my straight-and-narrow youth. There was just one problem: I was already married. The Wild Oats Project is the story of how I navigated an open marriage while exploring the San Francisco landscape of online dating, orgasmic meditation, neo-tantra, and women’s circles, all in an effort to excavate the untamed feminine. I didn’t write a memoir because I think my midlife crisis was unique. I wrote it because I think it wasn’t. (From Robin Rinaldi’s Website)
I’m never quite sure how to review memoirs, I mean who am I to judge someone else’s life? I’ll tell you this, The Wild Oats Project had me blushing fifty shades of red from time-to-time. It had me reflecting on my own relationship, my own passions, and my own doubts. It had me in fits of laughter, moments of sadness, and minutes of utter fear of how I might feel at the age of forty-five. It made me wonder if I would ever be able to go after my passion regardless of what I might lose. I’m not saying that every midlife crisis will involve sexual enlightenment, nor do I believe that that is the only kind of passion out there. What I’m saying is simply this: The Wild Oats Project is more than a woman looking for her next orgasm. It’s about a woman trying to find herself. It’s about a woman learning how to bond with other women and grasping all aspects of womanhood.
‘Ditch the communal bemoaning that usually passes for female bonding. Brag to your girlfriends instead of complaining’… As I began to make pleasure the basis for my decisions, I relaxed. (29)
It’s about a woman taking control of her body and her mind while trying to make sense of her marriage and her dreams. It’s about taking chances and making mistakes. It’s about a woman having hope and finding faith in herself. It’s about finally realizing that you can’t have it all, all of the time. Little sacrifices are what make life exciting and worthwhile.
We had our share of issues, but there was also a deeper battle going on inside me: fear versus hope. I clung to hope. (17)
Rinaldi’s words sing, her descriptions are sultry and dream-like, her passion and talent unrelenting. The Wild Oats Project is an amazingly written, titillating memoir that should be on every woman’s to-read list. Look out for it in March 2015!
*Disclosure: I was sent an ARC of The Wild Oats Project by Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.