Memory, All alone in the moonlight, I can smile happy your days ( I can dream of the old days) Life was beautiful then I remember the time I knew what happiness was Let the memory live again..’ Barbara Streisand ‘Memory’
The incredible generosity from within the writing community never ceases to amaze me. writers’ web supported a short story competition for QRRRWN to celebrate their 20th birthday. Judges for the competition were approached and their enthusiasm, generosity of spirit (and feedback) made the entire process an absolute joy to be involved in.
It struck me later that three of the four judges were renowned for their memoirs, and the fourth, drew so heavily from her own horse breeding, it nearly was her genre too! I was fascinated by this co-incidence and pursued it in conversation with them all.
Terry Underwood, author of the Australian Classic ‘In the Middle of Nowhere’, had a profile before even putting pen to paper. I meet Terry in the 1980’s as her daughter and I were at school together. We went to the photography exhibition in Sydney, which an agent happened to be at with a friend – and the rest they say ‘is history.’ Terry was asked to write her story, and she achieved what she had with her photography – a passionate insight into the incredible journey from being raised in the city to being a bush bride.
Alice Greenup, ‘Lessons for Alice,’ also had a profile. She had featured in an Australian Women’s Weekly article and then ‘The Two of Us’ in the Sydney Morning Heralds Good Weekend. Again, she was approached to write her memoir. Alice is incredibly generous with her journey and happily shares sage advice on keeping the manuscript close to you in the early stages, sharing only once it is near completion AND never rush! It is not a matter of pushing the story out, rather you need to be comfortable that the story is shared at all, and often time for a little introspection and analysis of the effects of the story being shared is paramount.
Jane Greive was a columnist and then a self published author before being asked to pen her story about being involved with some of the most formidable characters in the rural landscape who drove the development of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. Whilst her childhood certainly belongs to many, the journey she undertook after that was certainly nothing less than extraordinary! Jane wrote ‘In a Stockman’s Footsteps’ so the story is not lost, with time being what it is, fading off into the mists…
When Carmel Rowely doesn’t have a pen in her hand, she is in the stables with her beloved Arabian horses. As a breeder for nearly 40 years, she has extraordinary experience to draw upon and wanted to write to share the inside story of the horse-breeding world. Rather than memoir format, she has used the setting of fiction so she can really get her teeth into the story, without the constraints of worrying about other people.
What is to be learnt? Let manuscripts sit, check with stakeholders about their inclusion, and really, truly understanding the ramifications of having your story ‘out there’. Adhere to these simple three rules, then you are in with a chance.
And if you are not as patient? Then opt for fiction and let it all rip!