Monday, June 21, 2021

SO I WENT AND WROTE A BOOK

 Yes, I finally did it! I'd like to say that I became disciplined and organised and wrote my book during the first, seemingly endless, lockdown but I didn't, because I spent most of the time just feeling scared. I did, however, plan my book and this time last year, when both restrictions and fear had been lifted a little, I had a long talk with myself and I managed to do it.

It was certainly a learning process and the great plan of course got altered many times. At first I thought I would discipline myself to write a certain number of words a day but as time went on, I stopped worrying about the word count and concentrated on completing chapters, which was much more satisfying. Linking one chapter to another was something I spent a lot of time on and eventually I reached the stage of choosing photos and that was both emotional and difficult; many of them, of necessity, show me on my own, not because of vanity but because it would have been impossible to contact and get permission from other people who feature in some of the ones I discarded. I learnt that, under British law, if the photo is old and there was "no expectation of privacy " - for instance it was a large group photo - then there is probably not a problem but I agonised over this type of photo nonetheless. Then I found out that you have to scan the photos you do decide to include at the maximum size and this entailed much running back and forth to a print shop. I had no idea what "crop marks" were, or that you do not use the double inverted commas on your keyboard for speech but use a code for single quote marks ( a kind friend who is a book editor dispensed a few tips like this) and I certainly did not know that a slight difference in the weight of Italian paper can make two or more millimetres difference to the page size!  It was all a fascinating journey.

I mentioned emotion. As the book is an autobiography which will, I hope, shed some light on what the times I have lived through were like for ordinary people, I had to recall some harrowing moments. I spent some days in floods of tears but at the end of the process I felt that a weight had been lifted. I also had to admit to the many stupid things I've done and I'm not proud of them!

But what was my reason for putting myself through all this? To leave a testimony, yes, but mainly I wrote it for my birth family, with whom, as some of you will know, I was reunited in 2014. (If you do not know this story, there is a page with links to my adoption posts at the top of this blog and it is retold in the book.) I would like them to know a little more about what happened to me and why I made some of the decisions I did, among them choosing to move to Italy at the age of fifty-five. Perhaps I can best explain my reasons for writing, along with my choice of title, with this extract from the preface:

It is August 1993 and my mother is delirious in a ward at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. She repeats to me,

‘I'm going, I'm going.’

‘Where are you going, mum?’

‘I'm going to a place called Siracusa.’

And now, in 2020, I live one hour from Siracusa. But why was my mother, who had never been there, talking about this place as she drifted in and out of consciousness and how did I come to live so near it?

This is the story of my journey and I am writing it primarily for my birth family so that when, in the future, its younger members say, at Christmas gatherings,

‘Remember that strange auntie who used to come at Christmas and wasn't very good at board games?’ they will have something to refer to.

I hope, too, that I have included a little social history here, for the world they will know as adults is one I cannot imagine. Maybe there will be no books at all, but I am convinced that people will continue to read in some form. And if they chose to ignore the book or throw it away, that is their decision, not mine, just as it will be their world, not mine and they will have the right to make their own choices.

It seems such a long time ago now, that I wrote that, yet it has only been a year. Perhaps it is because so much has happened on the world stage since then. All I can do is hope that the little ones do not have their education interrupted again, that they will have no cause to live in fear as they grow up and that they, my birth family, my friends and all who read my blog and / or my book are blesssed with health.

I finished the book and managed to get copies printed for my birth family as a Christmas surprise and  some copies are available in the Mondadori bookshop in Modica. I hope to have copies available online in the next few weeks. I will keep you posted, dear readers.





3 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

Well done! It looks really interesting, even though I am not in your family. I have sometimes wondered why you settled in Sicily!

CherryPie said...

I know you are not to happy with me and I regret that.

I would love to read your book, I look forward to it becoming available online to purchase :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Jenny.
Oh, Cherry Pie, I regret it too. I'm sorry I overreacted at a very stressful time. It is kind of you to want to read my book. I am hoping to have it on Amazon in a couple of weeks. Thank you.

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