Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I wrote a book.. by accident

I didn't set out to write a book.   It is on here.

When I was a child, during a period in my life when my parents had a very tumultuous relationship, every time there was a major 'incident' - to an 8 - 10 year old introverted child, that was equivalent to WWII.  I immediately sat down and wrote a blow-by-blow account of the entire event.  I did it because I was so stressed I felt that I would explode if I didn't find some sort of escape valve, and writing it down was exactly that.

How I wish I had those written records now.  I know that my mother saved them in a folder - probably marked 'Dick'  not just because he was one, but that was his name.

She probably hoped that one day they would prove some sort of safeguard to her sanity, but that was back in the days when broken marriages were blamed entirely on the female of the species, and my written accounts may well still be sitting in a folder in some archive.  But to me they were cathartic.  Ok, I admit it, I have a fascination with words:

tumultuous (tjuːˈmʌltjʊəs)
1. uproarious, riotous, or turbulent: a tumultuous welcome.
2. greatly agitated, confused, or disturbed: a tumultuous dream.
3. making a loud or unruly disturbance: tumultuous insurgents.
tuˈmultuously adv tuˈmultuousness n

cathartic (kəˈθɑːtɪk)
1. purgative
2. (Medicine) effecting catharsis
3. (Medicine) a purgative drug or agent

Anyway, I only just realized that this was a habit that I had long ago formed.  Because when I came to the US I abandoned my therapy, and my most amazing therapist Dick.. strange that, same name as my father, and even more strange, a name I always loved.  Anyway, I digress - when I got here (Texas) I started writing as a way to purge (catharticise?) my past and release myself from the shackles of my past.

shackles (ˈʃӕklznoun plural
a pair of iron rings joined by a chain that are put on a prisoner's wrists, ankles etc, to limit movement. His captors put shackles on him.
ˈshackle verb
to put shackles on.

and the more I wrote, the better I felt.  Eventually I had about 50,000 words, in a series of disjointed essays. Every time I revisited them I reread and enjoyed them as though I had never read them before, let alone written them.  But the words were very important to me, so I tested them on a few people and the reaction I got was favorable, however, naturally enough these were people who knew me well and also knew the situations I wrote about.

I wanted to get reactions from people who didn't know me, or at least, not so well. My son read some of it and was (he said) enthralled - and I do believe him, because I taught him to be honest. But he was one of the 'knew me well' group. My mother in law - a very blunt and honest woman, read it and said I should publish it. So I put my disjointed written purgative in a blog. I got more feed back, my niece Nicola, we haven't met or spoken in decades, read it and took the time to privately email me with very gratifying feedback. My cousin Pat, who has a starring role in one of the chapters, actually bought the book and emailed me that she was reading and enjoying it.

Finally my husband, who I am fairly sure never read any of what I wrote, but who supports me in everything I do, convinced me to publlish it - and now that Amazon has where anyone can publish anything, I bit the bullet. I tried to make it more of a journal than disjointed events, and I really don't think I succeeded, but I hope it worked.

Once published, I purchased 10 copies of my book and gave copies of it as gifts to my children, my mother in law, and to my closest friends.

I cannot describe how I felt when one of my good friends told me how she has become totally enthralled while reading my book.  She said that she was immediately 'drawn into the story' and that everything she read 'drew pictures in her mind' so that she could see what I was writing about.

If I never write another word (which I seriously doubt) that response is something I will treasure forever. Now, I need to write a real book, and I need to figure out how to market my writing.