Recently a friend asked me whether I would write up our family experience in a Memoir. He has seen the blog and said some nice things about it.
I replied that I had spent a few years writing and then re-writing a Memoir entitled “A Rock for Jah – a personal account of inter-racial adoption”, but that I have never received an offer of publication.
Why did I call the Memoir “A Rock for Jah”? It is because on the first occasion we met little Jah, he came and peered slightly anxiously at a photo we had brought along of our three children. They were sitting on a rock in Scotland. He noted with quiet satisfaction that the boy in the picture was ‘brown’ like himself. Then he pointed to a small rock beside the big one. I had not noticed that before, but he must have had a deep need to belong somewhere and he pointed to that little rock and said simply “There’s a rock for Jah”.His deep need to belong somewhere touched the hearts of everyone present who heard his little voice.
Since there seemed to be very little likelihood of getting the Memoir published, I had to decide whether to
- keep re-writing it,
- to try and self-publish it,
- or to forget the whole thing.
I decided that I could not envisage spending more years re-writing the Memoir. I have other things that I want to write.
I am not keen on self-publishing, because one has to market the book from scratch.
I did not want to ‘forget the whole thing’.
One day about a year and a half ago, a friend suggested that a blog might reach a wider audience than a published book. At the time I was not ready to abandon the Memoir, but listened in the end.
Now I am enjoying writing the blog and it is good to know that people appear to be reading it in over 50 countries – that is if Counterize statistics are to be believed. I think they are. It is also very good to get feedback.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MEMOIRS
Maybe our family story does not have enough Drama/Conflict/Trauma etc? We had our own problems of course, but nothing like a Misery Memoir – fortunately! Or maybe I was not conveying adequately the emotions we went through. Or maybe I just did not contact the right would-be-publisher on the right day?
I do know however, that it is not only ‘Misery Memoirs’ that sell. There are wonderful writers who can write about nearly anything and get their work published and enjoyed by many. For example, Margaret Forster has written many books about her family, including one about the death of her father at the age of 90 and her sister in law at about half that age – see “Precious Lives”, published by Vintage 1999.
Andrew Collins has written an entertaining and affectionate memoir Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s by Andrew Collins (4 Mar 2004)
That is about his happy childhood in the 1970s. It is very entertaining and the title so cleverly shows how his memoir is going to buck the trend and be different.
It has suddenly occurred to me that ‘A Rock for Jah’ could be a good subject for a touching poem, but since I have not written poetry for simply ages, I don’t think that would work.
Why did I stop writing poetry? A long time ago, when I was a teenager I submitted a poem to a children’s newspaper. I had toiled long over this poem, but the reply came back that they thought some phrases had been copied from elsewhere. This was unfortunate because I knew that I had definitely not done that. I hope that today people would be more careful in responding to young people, not accusing them of plagiarism and trampling on their dreams.
As things have turned out, as I said above, I am now enjoying writing this blog and also have more children’s stories that I want to write.
Maybe this is enough for today and I must turn to my current story – the work in progress. It is about a little girl and her two grandmothers. Watch this space.
My next blog post will be more on “Explaining things to children”.