(I'm not a musician.) I was taught as a child that I must not 'blow my own trumpet' as in talking about myself – especially not to say anything good about myself. I was also taught that much of what I could say about myself was nonsense and I needn't expect anyone to believe it. If I myself believed it, I must be insane. If not, I was obviously a liar. Telling my story, therefore, became a very confronting task. I am now in my late seventies, as I begin this blog, and it is only a preparation – things I write on the way to writing the memoir. Nevertheless, everything posted here is copyright and must not be reproduced without written permission from the author (usually me).

Saturday, 5 December 2015

I dreamed of you, after so long.

Not that I don't think of you in my waking hours. For many years I thought of you every day. Now it is 33 years later – 33 years, four months and five days – and I don't think of you every day, but possibly every week. Somewhere along the way they turned from anguished thoughts to cherished memories. 

Already that begins to happen with my thoughts of Andrew, too. It took much longer in your case. Andrew and I had 20 years. We enjoyed them, in ways great and small. It's not hard to find memories to cherish, alongside those still hard to contemplate (of his end). You and I had little time or happiness, and the way you ended was horrendous to contemplate. Yet, in our unconsummated love, there were moments of supreme joy.

How lucky I have been in my life, to have experienced plenty of passion, and also some rare loves which – albeit of necessity – transcended that need!

In the dream we were back in the time when you were alive. You were still there, where we always met – at least I understood it to be that place although it didn't look the same. It looked symbolically the same, though, with dark tunnels, cave-like, infiltrated by mist. I was trying to sneak in undetected. I wasn't alone; one or two unidentified others were with me. Colleagues, perhaps, as in the old days. I seemed to know them, just wasn't focused on them. I was trying to find you, and I knew you were looking for me too. But we had to be secret.

I was conscious that there were flames somewhere in the background; part of the place must be on fire. 

We did suddenly encounter each other at a bend, a place where two tunnels met. We had time to kiss each other hastily and awkwardly, on cheeks, not lips, and mutter our love, without being noticed in the darkness; then people came and pulled us apart and hurried us away, you towards the interior and the flames, me in the other direction.

I can read the dream. It's a perfect metaphorical description of what did happen.

Did I wake up crying? I don't know; it was a few nights ago. There are tears now. 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Why do it?

Because so many people have asked me. They want to know how I became psychic and witchy and magical and all that.

That's not all they want. I have in fact written two memoirs, sort of, as blogs: 'Shifting Fog: Dwelling with Dementia' and 'The Widowhood Chronicles'. People tell me they are useful, and ask me to publish them as books.

But they're not really books yet, just chronological outpourings. The widowhood one isn't finished, and in reality never will be, in the living of it, until I too die ... but I suppose I can find some arbitrary but logical-seeming end point. The other is misleading in its title, as the dementia turned out to be only a small part of Andrew's decline.

But the raw material is there.

So this new raw material I'm embarking on here will obviously be something other than those two experiences.

Will it be the 'spooky' memoir, full of magic and mystery and other-dimensional realities? Or will it be the many loves of Rosemary, licit and illicit? Or the dark family secrets? Or the time in prison? Maybe the lot!

(After all, if Goodreads can refer to T E Lawrence's 400,000-word The Seven Pillars of Wisdom as a memoir ... though I guess it qualifies, being only about that particular period of his life.)

I don't know yet which direction mine will take. Perhaps I'll find out in writing these preliminaries – like a friend who thought she was going to write about the witchy aspect of her life and found herself delving deep and often painfully into the story of mothering an autistic son – with a sense of absolute necessity. Some of us have particular stories that demand to be told before we can go on to write others.

Who knows? I'll just dive in and write whatever shows up to be written when I come to the page. I've tried organising it neatly before – hopeless.

Again, why do it? I have wondered! It needs to be something for me, not just to satisfy other people, or it'll never work. I have thought of doing it in poetry, and perhaps I will in the end, even though I think that would be bound to leave some gaps. Or maybe I'll just punctuate it with poems. Or have the poems be most of it, with only thin threads of connecting prose narrative.

No, that's not the why but the how of doing it.

I must want to at some level, or I wouldn't be playing with the idea. But every time I have tried in the past, it has proven so confronting – to me, not others – that I have abandoned it.

Recently I thought it might work to do it in the third person: maybe that wouldn't seem so scary. 
(So the how is important in resolving my issues with doing it in the first place.)

Finally I asked 'Upstairs' to give me a sign. 

'Should I do a memoir' I asked, 'or stick to my poetry?' (which is mostly confessional anyway, and which I enjoy). 

'Let me know within 48 hours,' I said. 

Within 48 hours I had not one but several signs.  Here they are, as noted in my personal journal:

1) A post in my emails, about memoir writing, jumped out at me.

2) Going through old files and posts this morning, came across a time line I'd made of events in my life, as preparation for memoir writing. (It didn't register at first, in this context, as my mind was on other things.)

3) Morning 2: Goodreads quote was T. E Lawrence, with a story about him losing the original ms of his 400,000 word memoir while travelling, and recreating the whole thing in 30 days. (Fancy calling The Seven Pillars a memoir! But I suppose it is, really.)

4) The Goodreads quote was a beautiful one: 

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands / and wrote my will across the sky in stars

Reading it, I thought I understood why the last couple of nights I have been dreaming of people who were once very important in my life, but are no longer in it – through death, or moving in different directions. Memoir material, for sure. Not only have I had these dreams, I have remembered them in detail, without even writing them down after waking. I almost never remember my dreams.

So I am doing it because  Someone Up There tells me I should. Whether that's my Higher Self, or God, or The Universe, no matter – I asked, and I got told. OK, here we go!

Some people's names I will change, probably to nicknames or labels, for their and their families' privacy. With other people, e.g. my husbands, there's no hiding them – they're known.

I won't even try to put it in any particular order yet.