Initiation: A Memoir


I used to think it hubris. That writing about one's own life was somehow irrelevant, who wants to know? That I'm not so important that anyone would want to read about my life. But that's just not true and I urge all of you to get cracking and write that memoir because your life, your thoughts, fears and love, oh, so much of it may not seem important now, but to others, or in a hundred years, it may very well be one of the most important things you will have done in your life.


Three years ago I lived next door to another screenwriter and we shared many cups of tea and chat. She had bought the option to write the screenplay of the story of a woman whose life (in life) was never really known. After her death her son was clearing out the house for sale and he opened the manhole cover to see if his mother had stored anything up under the roof and was shocked to discover her diaries. He had never known her. She had been the mistress of Eduard Roschmann, the Nazi SS officer known as the butcher of Riga and had documented every atrocity and personal experience of her time trapped in his world.


An old woman in her 80s came to me for a Tarot reading. Each spread was covered with wands. Wands and fame. Her first question of the cards was "Will my book ever get published?" The answer was "They'll come to you." This old woman, whom you wouldn't look at and see anything particularly interesting, lived in Byron Bay and her son, Robert (a poet) lived in England so she was quite alone and going blind. But. She was Irina Baronova Tennant. If you don't know who she is look her up. She was a famous Russian ballerina. She was published in 2006 and before she died her story was also turned into a film, so you can't use your age as an excuse. If anything the older you are the more likelihood of your story being important.


For your kids and their children, for your friends or your sister or brother, if for no one else. There will be many things they do not know about you and here's where you can bare all. It's liberating. You weren't always just Mum or Dad or Grandma or Grandad or Uncle Bob or Aunty Helen so fess up and give them the heart and soul of yourself. Give them themselves through your eyes and experience. Me? I get to talk about a time when the chamber pot was under the bed and we had to wear gloves and the Missionary Position was the only legitimate way to have sex and where, if one lived in Queensland or Victoria one could still go to gaol for being a witch.


You'll have to choose your own theme but theme is very important or you'll never do it. You need to set your story in a background narrative. I was a bastard, sold by the Catholic Church to my parents for three hundred pound (a lot of money in 1951 - the year the Witchcraft Act was repealed by the Commonwealth). My story is called Initiation, a Memoir. There are some pretty dark caverns to torch and I use the history and the music and the feminism and the politics and the sexual etiquette (or lack thereof come the 60s) of the day to nestle my story in.

Don't stress about how long or not it takes to write either. Mine began in June 2011. I've almost completed the first draft for review. I might even finish it this week (Huh! Doubt it) because it's close to 400 hundred pages and I'm up to 2009.

Don't worry...

Don't be bothered to write it well, don't be bothered to keep it in chronological order either. Just begin. Before it's too late. Before you forget or get too lazy.

To publish or no to publish...

Createspace is a fabulous place to get a paperback made to order. Someone will help you with a cover when the time comes. Again don't worry. You might only ever get the one printed as a gift to the next generation but if your story can help someone understand, help them see that they mattered enough for you to go to all that trouble, then it would be worth the RSI.

Blessings on your endeavour. If I can be of any assistance in the process don't hesitate to write to me.

Ly de Angeles Ly de Angeles x
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Published on October 23, 2016 14:19 • 529 views • Tags: book, future, memoir, story, yourself
Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)    post a comment »
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message 1: by Kallan (new)

Kallan Kennedy Thank you!

message 2: by Nel (new)

Nel Beautiful Inspiration.

message 3: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee Good advice x

message 4: by Cathryn (new)

Cathryn Wellner Thank you for this. I recently started blogging a memoir of my years as a reluctant farmer (knowing I would never get around to it otherwise). The response has reminded me that the personal is also universal.

message 5: by Ly (new)

Ly Angeles Thanks all x

message 6: by Ly (new)

Ly Angeles Thanks lovelies. I'm reposting this as I attempt to get my digital act together x

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