Thursday, 29 November 2012

Grandad's book - the everlasting project

It's been a while since I last blogged about this project, which was originally to type up the autobiography my Grandad had begun and never completed. I finished the typing some time ago, and had begun to compile some footnotes, and research some of the people and places that Grandad talked about.

It was all good practise for the meaty project of writing fiction, and what's more, it inspired me to pen the first draft of a short story (for the Year of Stories). Grandad had a big life in every way; he enlisted in the army, and passed out two days before war was declared in 1939. He travelled the world as a despatch rider, and had several near misses, even after the army years, such as when his lorry tipped up on him. He is a rich seam of stories, though he was a story-teller in the oral tradition.

My mum has now passed on two tatty boxes of photos and a broken-spined photo album to me, which I am scanning and saving to a flash-drive. I'm going to add a few of these to Grandad's book.

My hopes of self-publishing it as a gift for my Dad and sisters on in time for Christmas have already faded....I think that's two years in a row, but it might be more. One day I'll have it finished and ready to order, and I know the family will enjoy reading about Grandad's wartime and childhood exploits. Now I'm thinking of making a photo book for Grandma, too, with some of these photos. (She has dementia, and loves to look at photos, but they often disappear from albums. Her favourite album has more gaps than photographs these days).  So that's another distracting project to add to my list.

Looking at everything my Grandad saw and experienced, I was inspired by him again, to expand my own horizons. It's hard, with the delightful and unmissable clutter of four children, to do even half of what I might like to (and they are an adventure in their own right), but I must keep it as a longer term goal, when these days of having them draped around my knees has passed.

It's scary, though, how long it is taking to complete this job which Grandad had done the lion's share of; how much longer will one of my fiction books take to polish and refine for publication?

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