Can You Complete Your Memoir If It’s Fueled by Anger?

CHILDREN OF LOVERS by Judy Golding

Judy Golding portrays the Lord of the Flies author as a man who could be a wonderfully entertaining father but also capable of cruelty towards his offspring.

In her memoir, Children of Lovers Judy Golding writes that “I need to make these two men one, the warm, embracing man I adored, and the indifferent, sometimes self-centred, occasionally cruel man, who could drink too much, could be crushing, contemptuous, defeating, deadening. This is hard.”

Speaking at the Telegraph Ways With Words festival, Judy, now 66, said that she “did not take lightly the decision to lay bare the family’s secrets.” Golding goes on to explain, “I hesitated hugely and was bolstered by very good friends, one of whom said to me every few months, Are you going to tell the truth about your father? I know that I come over as quite angry and in a sense you have to be fuelled by a sort of anger. But I certainly don’t regret it.”

Golding and his wife, Ann, were devoted to one another—to the exclusion of Judy and her brother, David. The title of the memoir is taken from the proverb the children of lovers are orphans.

“Every parent—and this is true of my parents as much as anyone—would like to do the best for their children. But it’s certainly true that their relationship did feel exclusive to me and I think to my brother as well,” she said.

“I just felt my parents looked at each other and found in each other a mirror. They were entwined in some fairytale and we were on the outside. But children normalise those things and get on with it.” Judy said of her father, who died in 1993: “He was an extremely funny man, and I remember as a child lying on the floor and my stomach hurting because I was laughing so much…. But you saw the other side too and that was his tendency to—there is a phrase for it now—self-medicate with alcohol.”

Despite that, “the overwhelming thing for me was that I just loved him,” she told the audience. “And I think, really, when all this other stuff is gone through, the biggest thing for me is writing about him and telling stories about him.”

“The benefits [of being Golding’s daughter] far outweighed anything else and one of the benefits was just living with this astonishing man.”

Read more here.

Amazon.com review:

The Children of Lovers are Orphans Proverb Bestselling novelist, author of Lord of the Flies, William Golding was a famously acute observer of children. What was it like to be his daughter? In this frank and engaging family memoir, Judy Golding recalls growing up with a brilliant, loving, sometimes difficult parent. The years of her childhood and adolescence saw her father change from an impecunious schoolteacher to a famous novelist. Once adult, she came to understand some of the internal conflicts which led to his writing. The Golding family life, both ordinary and extraordinary, always kept its characteristic warmth, humour, complexity, anger and love, danger and insecurity. This is a book about family and parents, about lovers and their children, and about our impact on one another—for good or ill. It’s a frank and engaging family memoir by the daughter of one of our best-loved and most influencial authors.
Want to write a different kind of memoir? Call today to set up a 30″ complimentary sample session to see what we might create together: 206.617-8832 or design your own package.
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COMPLETION COMPULSION

“When I start a book, I always think it’s patently absurd that I can write one. No one, certainly not me, can write a book 500 pages long. But I know I can write 15 pages, and if I write 15 pages every day, eventually I will have 500 of them.” ~ John Saul

“Completion Compulsion” is not a mental illness designated in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of psychological disorders. Rather, it’s something I have and it’s a reason my calling is to help you complete your goals. If I can publish, so can you. If I can finish what I set out to do, so can you. Just begin.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Here are a few tips to help you jumpstart your new habit of sharing your writing in the public domain.

Tip #1 Blog: If you write articles or a blog, you are only a few steps away from a book. In fact, writing a regular newsletter is one of the not-very-secret “secrets” of my publishing success.

It’s no coincidence that my books and newsletters are on the same topics. The reality is that if you write anything regularly, you can use that material in a book.

Tip # 2: Get the “just right” software. People often have NO idea that lots of books were originally articles because the software makes it easy to reorganize information and include transitional text where you need it.

Which software helps you write a book? One of the more advanced options is Adobe InDesign. The feature content of InDesign includes refined typography and images that resize to fit virtually any screen. You can also add video and audio for eBook reader applications. The user-interface is demanding and, for people who are unfamiliar with Adobe products, the learning curve can be a little steep. Still, I don’t know of a better program for Mac users; most are PC dependent.

Another option, which is actually a free download, is a piece of software called Scribus. It is an Open Source Desktop Publishing program that’s supposed to contain most of the necessary features, but some reviewers state that the user interface is not very intuitive. Though it might be worth a try, considering it is free. Whether you have a PC or a Mac product, it works with both.

Another option that is in between these two options, in terms of price, is Print Explosion Deluxe®, which is $49.95. Problem, it works only with Mac products. Of course, the best way short of buying these and trying them out for yourself is to peruse reviews based on consumer satisfaction.

If you have been struggling to figure out how to write a book, but you hate technology, maybe hiring a book coach (like me) is just the “tool” you need to make it happen.

Authorize yourself with my help

Take up my offer to have a complimentary sample session to see what we might create together. Email me at authorizeU@gmail.com or call to set up a 30-minute appointment: 206.617-8832 or pick a package.

Writing About Your Family’s Faith Can Be Funny

Rhoda Janzen’s memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress begins with a double blow when her husband leaves her for a man he’s met online and a drunk driver smashes head-on into her car. Injured physically and emotionally, she retreats to the family whose faith she’s spent a lifetime rebelling against.

Janzen’s parents are devout Mennonites—a separatist branch of Christianity that forswears decadence in all its forms. Despite the fact that Janzen, an academic, had long ago abandoned “the fold,” the community, instead of casting her into outer darkness, welcomes her back with open arms.

It is no surprise to this academic of religion, gender and psychology that the Mennonites welcomed this “heathen” back into the community; they have long been peace activists. For instance, in the United States Mennonites provided an alternative to military service during World War II. From 1941 to 1947, 4,665 Mennonites, Amish, Quakers (or “Friends”) and Bretheren in Christ were among nearly 12,000 conscientious objectors who worked in areas such as soil conservation, forestry, fire fighting, agriculture, social services and mental health. Such ideas shaped a vision for The Peace Corps (introduced by Hubert Humphrey in 1957) as an alternative to enlisting as a soldier of war.

Still, in Janzen’s very personal recollections, eschewing all media, dancing, drinking and clothing fads seem to be what was remembered and mocked!

“It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I’m reading, but Janzen’s voice singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest slayed me.” Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Janzen, just like David Sedaris of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, describes the characters in her own family with great candor.

In one section Janzen offers memories of Mennonite “foods of shame”—the things she was embarrassed to carry in her lunchbox, like soggy persimmon cookies, mushy meatballs made with saltine crackers and a dish called Hollapse—chartreuse or purple cabbage boiled, browned and baked. As a best-selling author, lots of freaky fans are writing to her and begging her for these odd recipes.

Like most memoirists that I coach, Janzen writes her own life history as a journey of discovery into the past and reconnects with some of the values she rejected when she “left home” decades before. Although she’s most often sardonic, Janzen’s writing is as honest as it is compassionate.

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Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com.  If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.

Can Writing Your Memoir Be Healing?

“A Point to Remember about Writing a Memoir: Whether your memoir is funny, irreverent, or bittersweet, the act of writing is a healing one. It may be the most important journey of your life so don’t hesitate to get started.” ~ Pamela Jane Bell

Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com.  If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.

Good Writers Read Great Writers: Margaret Atwood on Memoir

Margaret Atwood’s memoir, Remembering Marian Engel, details her relationship with another Canadian writer, Engel. In this intimate account, she revisits the friendship in the years before Engel’s death. In straightforward narrative, Atwood suggests the pride Engel sustained up until her untimely death.

“Once, during a bad spell, I was visiting her in a hospital, and a medical crisis really did strike. Buzzers were sounded, nurses hurried in, and I had to leave. As I did as she was being lifted, stuck with needles in the midst of all that, she winked at me.

This wink demolished me. It was so typical of her, but also so gallant and doomed, bagpipers going in to battle, the Polish cavalry charging the tanks on horseback. It was meant, I knew, to cheer me up, but it said other things too: that no matter how gruesome things were, they had a funny side; that there was a conspiracy going on, between us, behind the doctors’ backs. The doctors and her body were engaged in some solemn business or other that was of concern to her, but it wasn’t the whole story.

Despite the alterations made in her by the illness and drugs, here was the same expression I’d first caught her at, on that book cover: mischief, fun. Relish was a word she liked; “I’ve been naughty,” she would say, with some pleasure. So there was something to be had, savoured, seen, understood, even at such a moment. She would not have found this wink of hers courageous. Unless somebody else had done it, of course.”

Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com.  If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.

Let’s Connect!

Hi there! My name is Jennifer Manlowe (PhD, CPC) and I’m an author, educator and Certified Publishing Coach. I’d love to become your Memoir Mentor. If you let me, I’ll guide you through the tricky process of writing, editing and sharing your story with the world through publishing.

Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com.  If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.

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