But there is no victorious ‘democratic’ ending to this story. In Syria the civil uprising has gradually been transformed into a full scale civil war. Sayid and his colleagues have all lost loved ones to this war and their political is personal. Sayid’s own crime–and why he is here–was to film government violence and put it up on YouTube, after which he was put on the list of wanted terrorists.
So you’re here at last. Right now you may have no inclination as to what re-authoring looks like or feels like. To see different plot patterns in your stories, takes a great deal of distance. To do so you must also have gone through the grief cycle to mourn your trauma, or maybe even several. Have I done it? Yes… …
Our word choices, even if–or perhaps especially if–unconsciously made, reveal our attitudes, values, bias, education, self-image and purpose. For a man of letters like Stephen, who has made his fortune from a personal brand of verbosity, that means his objectivity in linguistic matters comes under question.
So what should you be cutting (or rewriting)? Anything that does not move the story forward, anything which seems slow. This is the reason you need fresh eyes, because without them you will be too attached to what you have just written. It’s like a child, in a manner of speaking. Right after birth, you are smack in the middle of attachment. A few years down the line, you start to see them as a separate person! Thus when you re-read what you’ve written after a while, you may find that there are places where even you put your story down because it lags. These are the first passages to examine.
But be careful that you don’t make outright assumptions about others’ motivations and behaviours. You cannot know what is in their mind, you can only know how you interpret their words and behaviour. If you move into describing the internal reflections of someone else, your memoir will be less believable. Do it too much and you will have moved into the realm of fiction using an omniscient narrator.
It took me fifteen years to publish my first book and it is my hope that I can shorten that time for you because a lot of that time was spent on unnecessary self-doubt. Those fifteen years were spent trying to improve my self esteem. Had I continued writing despite my self-doubt, I truly believe that my self-esteem would have improved much more quickly. Instead I looked to others to give me tips which were for the most part a load of rubbish.
Yet even though your work is of immense personal value, your first draft will not be in any shape to be published and that is just as it should be. So if you’re waiting to ‘find’ the perfect first line, for it to plop into your lap, then you’ll be waiting for a long time.
Authors say that ‘writing is rewriting.’ Nowhere is this more true than when you write memoir in order to heal. I wrote the stories as I remembered them and as I felt them, in my younger voice. But as I grew older, read more, learned more and loved myself more (which came largely but indirectly, from continuously writing and publishing my stories), I found silver linings to my past trauma.
Today I’m starting to put vocals on the music and song cycle now known as Twelvemonth. As you can see from my songbook, lyric writing is not always (rarely in fact) a straightforward affair. I work in pencil for a good reason. And don’t let anyone tell you that using a rhyme dictionary is cheating. This song is from the second cycle and …
Because personal truth does change over time as perspective is added. That you understood the truth of your motivations at one time for a particular decision, does not make it necessarily or wholly true now.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, twelvemonth is an archaic noun meaning “a year”. As any writer or musician will tell you, the relevance of things happening around you increases the further you immerse yourself in your work, until every song you hear or snippet of dialogue appears to have a direct link to your project.
The first theme has landed. Still not sure what final form it will take or what arrangement will accompany it but here it is in its raw form. Very easy to play. In fact if anyone would like to revisit their piano study years and post a clip of themselves playing this theme they’ll be rewarded with a download copy …
This is Louisa’s forthcoming book “Necessary to Life” mapped out in twelve chapters; months to be precise so I can identify themes and arcs and characters. All this with the aim of writing a companion album, a soundtrack if you like.
We have always been in a post-truth era because our interpretation of truth can only ever be subjective. Today the difference is that Trump doesn’t pretend to be objective. As a narcissist, it is impossible for him to be anyone other than who he is. I’d wager he believes his own stories, no matter what facts might say.
People often wonder why I write so much. I’ve been called selfish, vain and self-obssessed. I over think things. That people don’t know me, don’t care to find out why and denigrate me according to their own judgements is something I’ve had to learn to live with. Because for me writing is the way I remember my life and my purpose. I write because otherwise I would forget who I am.