His fiancée left him a month before their planned wedding. He moved into a drafty attic. His car’s brakes went out, and he learned his cat was dying.
Nearly a decade later, Nadelson writes about the lessons he learned from that time in his new memoir, “The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress.”
“The book revolves around a particularly challenging period in my life following a difficult breakup, but also explores episodes from childhood and young adulthood,” Nadelson says. “What I discovered above all in the process of writing the book is how slippery identity can be, how elusive.”
Nadelson says he didn’t set out to write a memoir. But after beginning with a nugget of his autobiography, he found himself sticking closely to his own experiences.
“What I found while doing so was a sort of giddy nervousness that emerged from the process, as if I were shouting secrets from a rooftop,” Nadelson says. “I ended up laughing a lot as I wrote, which was a new experience for me.”
Nadelson describes his book as an investigation of identity, adding that he probably wouldn’t have written it if he hadn’t started teaching a creative nonfiction class at Willamette University several years ago.
“I often talk with my students about my own process, how I approach my material, what I struggle with in crafting my work,” he says. “And helping them through their own challenges always feeds my writing.”
“The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress,” is published by Hawthorne Books, an independent literary press in Portland. Nadelson will read excerpts of his work March 18 at 7 p.m. at Grass Roots Books in Corvallis and at 7:30 p.m. March 29 at Powell’s City of Books in Portland.
The book will be available for sale in the Willamette Store beginning this month.