I know it is only day 2 of the National Novel Writing Month challenge – to write 50,000 words of something new during the month of November, but I was in such a dilemma over whether to do it at all, what to write, if I could write on top of all the other things I’m doing, that when I penned my first few hundred words yesterday I had a little surge of optimism, that though this might be the hardest year yet to write (of the four I have done so far) I might, just might be able to rise to the challenge.
I suppose like many people, non-writers as well as writers, there is an urge to tell, share and save the stories from one’s own life. Many people who do no other writing at all, will sit down and write the story of their own lives, or that of their parents or family from the past.
I suppose that many start like this (and it’s a perfectly fine way to start):
My mother, who was born in Winchester on 25th November 1925, was registered and christened as Phyllis Monica Matthews. Throughout her life she was always called Monica, and she never knew where that name came from, nor Phyllis. She was the youngest of four children, William Alan born in 1918, Audrey born in 1920 and Rene Beryl Lois born in 1924.
This factual way of writing might continue through the lives of both parents and the four grandparents as far as is known, combining family knowledge with researched information from genealogical sites.
Or little family stories, many unverifiable might start to be included:
Monica was christened in Winchester Cathedral, which seems remarkable because the family had somewhat of a transient life, moving around the country as her father, William Reginald, always known as Reg, had different work. Sometimes the older two children were left with relatives, sometimes Alan and Audrey were together, sometimes they were farmed out separately. They probably weren’t told why, as children would be these days, and maybe weren’t always welcome into the family they were left with.
Sometimes conjecture might creep in:
In some early photos, Monica’s mother, Ida Isabel, née Walford, looks weary and almost sad. There is a pair of telling photos taken when Monica was a toddler; in the first Ida is standing with a friend and she’s looking watchful, serious – in the second she is standing beside Reg and she is smiling at the friend who is taking the photo. It seems that looking at her husband she couldn’t summon a smile, but she beamed at her friend.
When I started my NaNoWriMo voyage yesterday, I began to write about my life, but in an objective way, an observed way, and in an imaginative way. I’m not sure how long this will last – will it take up all 50,000 words, or will I run out of steam and interest, will I be inspired by something else? … we shall see!
If you want to read what I’ve written before, all totally imaginary, here is a link:
In the meantime, here is an interesting piece written by Kate Johnson: