This writing lark is great craic.
After my first abomination of a first effort at publishing I have made numerous efforts at writing fiction. All ended up sitting like half eaten sandwiches, moulding in a folder in one of my archives. I ain’t cut out for fiction writing and I am more than happy to admit that.
The latest effort at writing my autobiography is a different matter altogether. Whereas the fiction writing was a bit of a nightmare, the latest is a pleasure. I have no need to work out any fancy plots because all the plots are already there, written in history. I don’t have to worry about characterisations because basically there is only one main character and dozens of side characters who dip in and out of the narrative before being forgotten.
The aspect I enjoy most is the simple act of recall. Writing down a memory opens previously forgotten little boxes and further memories pop out. As I write about some aspect of my past, I almost relive it which can have unpleasant undertones [school] or very pleasant memories [holidays]. There is also a sensation that if I write something down, I need never worry that I will forget it some time in the future. It’s a bit like backing up my hard disk – I hope it never fails but in the event that it does…
I started it as a sort of letter to my Grandkids, but of course there is a possibility [very remote?] that my Great Grandkids might find it interesting too. Maybe kids who aren’t related will find a taste of The Old Ways there? Let them laugh at the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the mid Twentieth Centuary. Maybe in a hundred years it may be a standard text in all history classes? No harm in dreaming?
I would seriously suggest everyone should try the exercise. If you can string two words together then put them down, especially if you have offspring. If you don’t then those memories will be lost forever. Future generations’ questions will remain unanswered.
Writing your life down at least means you’ll live a lot longer after you are gone.