Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Out Of Order

In working on the autobiography (tales for the grand-children) I seem to have got stuck somewhere, and it appears to be before I was born!

I started studying the Second World War (from which I emerged) with very thin pickings in terms of family legends, and have become involved in the details, rather than the big picture...

I won't go into those details now (vegetarian ration books?  Was my dad too old for call-up, or a conscientious objector who became a fireman in The Blitz?  What was the work my mother was doing, welcoming refugees, entertaining in the underground bomb shelters, etc?)

I am also trying to avoid a particular shape that I have noticed in many autobiographies:
  • Start with a high point, the part of the story people may have heard about, or want to hear about.
  • Next, the chapter many readers may skip, the dry research of great-grandparents, etc, with few enlivening tales to brisk up the family tree and bits of social history
  • Early days, leading to school and those future glimpses (little did he know...)
  • Back up the tree, by luck or hard work, to the peak experience of the exciting opening chapter (which I have already told you about...)
  • Life since that heady time
I can feel myself nodding off, just at the thought.

Apart from the obvious problem about how much you can say about still-living people, I still can't resolve how much should be about me, and a unique perspective, and how much about my generation, my country, and so on.

I may have to set myself some kind of target, a daily word minimum, which works so well when writing NaNoWriMo novels.

And then I get bored with my own anecdotes, and want to go back to that fiction I wrote last November...

And there's 300 words I will never see again!

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