Writer's Dilemma

I've been working on my memoir "Confessions of a Mafia Princess" for nearly three years, and it's getting to a point where I may actually finish it and send it off to an editor and now suddenly I'm filled with all sorts of doubts.

My memoir is based on growing up with my cousins and just life in general and all the crap I've been through: being learning disabled, immune deficient and just experiences with my family. Some of the family stories are so hysterical and unbelievable, my family alone is the basis for a 300 page novel ... sort of like "Amityville Horror" without all the good times. They are such original characters and I want to stress that I couldn't make up any of this stuff if i tried -- no one could.

Growing up, I didn't just have my mother and father, I had my aunts, uncles and cousins involved in every aspect of my life. The phrase "it takes a village" takes on a whole new meaning for me and each person played such an important role that in writing this, I hate to leave anyone out, but there's also a fear that if I do write this, I risk offending someone in my family and there aren't too many left that will get to read it, but even still ...

I'm nervous that the ones that are alive are going to chew it up and spit it out, then accuse me of defamation. Although they all would like to speak out in support, in the background a team of lawyers would beckon and three years of work will be in ligation, plus I also worry that they'll never speak to me again. I know one person will still talk to me but come on, If i'm disowned, I can't live on her couch for the rest of my life.

I'm also worried that I may never get to the editor/agent stage, that all this work and research, all this trying to remember the facts and moments are just going to be stuck on my flash drive and never get to be actually seen.

This is my dream, my goal: to reach some teenage girl who's been misunderstood and for her to read my book and say wow, this woman went through exactly what I'm going through and now I don't feel so alone, now that I know that someone like me went through a similar situation. Maybe it could become a legacy for my own children.

Either way, I've got a lot of decisions in the next few days and I'm at a crossroads.

Have you ever had a dream that was actually on the verge of coming true when you began to have doubts? If so, did you stop before it came true?