Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Short and the Long of it - post Brexit

Thursday night last week - relieved that at last the Referendum will be over tomorrow. There has been some press jitters about the outcome this week and the polls are looking close, too close. Still no one much in their right minds would vote for Boris, Gove and Farage would they, not in large numbers....?

I watch until 2 a.m. and a cloud of uncertainty seems to hang above the news rooms, no one wants to think the unthinkable though do they - except Boris and Farage. Gove no where to be seen.  I am becoming more and more unsettled as reports come in of 70 plus percent in the North East voting Leave.

I decide I'm too tired and I am running a Memoir Workshop at 11 a.m. for the Finchley LitFest. It's sure to change once they get more results in, it may be a little closer than expected but ...

I wake with a start at 6 a.m. and immediately reach out for my smart phone, click on the BBC News app.  No, I'm dreaming this cant be true, no non no.  There's Farage with a big cheesy grin on his face, like its Xmas and his birthday at once - how we've 'got Britain back again'.   Got it back from where Nigel? Our European friends, allies, trading partners? Our joint fair-minded law makers? I sit up and watch more and try to absorb the shock.

Then I turn it off and pad to the kitchen, holding my tea and toast, my comfort food and sitting watching RT news with a great sense of grief and loss that gradually as the day goes on turns into rage and fury. 

I get ready and go off to deliver my memoir workshop.  The first thing they all want to talk about is their sense of shock and outrage at the results. Gradually  I bring them back to focusing on their own story. Their stories are fascinating and the group bonds well.  I give them out charts that I've developed from Tony Buzan's Mind Maps.  Soon they all have a much clearer idea of what they want to write about. They do some short writing exercises.  By the end of 90 minutes the group is buzzing and all talking to each other.  Great.

I go home again to the news and for some reason I'd like to paint splatter Gove more than the other two.

Now here I am on Wed June 29th. The news over the last few days seems to be developing fast.(a) 142 Labour MPs have backed a no confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn.  And
(b) another terrorist incident in Turkey at the Attaturk airport in Istanbul - I was there in November last year..   28 Dead - how dreadful and Turkey has always been so welcoming to us Brits it feels like as much part of the EU as Italy, France and Germany (even if it's not).
Very sad and tragic.

Last night after a Labour local council candidate selection meeting (with the best turn out ever (is Brexit making people stand up and be counted?)  we adjourned to the local Victorian pub.  I had a heated discussion with 2 Labour supporters about Corbyn's position, which to me seems obviously untenable.  They were in complete denial and shouting about it. 
So politics everywhere is breaking out of its apathy into discussion and activism - that's one good thing about Brexit then.



YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR OWN LIFE STORY


What's the difference between a memoir and an autobiography?  Let's start with that question,  where so much confusion lies. Now get this clear.  A MEMOIR is a part of your life.  An autobiography is the whole thing, the whole life.  OK.  Got that now?  Let's move on.


What's the difference between a memoir and a novel? A memoir writer 'stands behind her story saying :this is true.  What is important about that assertion is the effect on the reader - he reads it believing it to be remembered experience. ... 'if the writer presents it as fiction, the reader will usually perceive it as fiction ...'
'when you name what you write memoir or fiction, you enter into a contract with the reader.  you say 'This really happened'  or you say 'This is imaginary.'
These are quotes from Judith Barrington's book, 'Writing the Memoir'.  It's important to remember the distinction. 

I wrote and published a memoir last year, it began when I went to South Africa in June 1975 [A Hippopotamus at the Table] and ended when I left in Dec 1978, so, it covered two and a half years. That was my timescale. I've had people on my memoir writing courses who's memoir timescale ranged from two weeks long to seven years.  If you've got enough material in what happened to you, to write a book covering only two weeks - go for it.  My next memoir will cover a period of 3-6 months. The good thing about memoir writing is that you may only want to focus on the one event - you've had something interesting happen to you and that's the story you want to tell.  But if you've had an interesting life -  you can break it down into several memoirs. 
For those who want to explore the idea of writing a memoir further, if you're free - come to my next course.  What's important at the beginning is that you've got a story you want to tell and you want to know how to do it.  The course will get you started on the road to exploring that.