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Monday, 18 December 2017

WRITER IN THE WAITING ROOM





















In the last couple of years my primary writing focus has been on a memoir of my father (support-funded by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland). The core of the story is his leaving the family home in Belfast, his wife and seven young children in 1960 only to resurface, as it were, dead in London in 1982, a gap of 22 years. Rippling out from the core is the fallout, how his disappearance affected the family. As the research and writing developed, the story has evolved into a combination of biography (mother and father) and autobiography, as well as necessary (I think) geographical references to Belfast and Clapham.

I have been able to devote time to researching his life, particularly the 22 'missing' years, travelling to his Clapham stomping ground to follow in his footsteps and gathering stories from people who knew him at various stages of his life. It has also given me an opportunity to look back at happier times for my mother and father and to understand more about distant family history.

I am at the point where I think I have uncovered as much as I can at this stage and it is time for independent, expert editorial eyes to scan the manuscript. I am lucky enough to have been pointed in the direction of two such knowledgeable people and copies of the material are on there way for perusal and comments.

This is a nervy time for this writer. It is the first time the potential book in its entirety will have been seen by third parties and I am now in a period of the unknown. What will they make of it all? Will the story be interesting enough? Will it all hang together? And many other questions.

All in all in worrying about it, I am trying not to worry about it. I have lived a large part of my life thinking what's the worst that can happen. But when all is said and done, I have to wait and see.

In my working life, I have given and received feedback and I have learned a lot about how it should be given and received. Whatever comes back from my two perusers, I am confident I can use their opinions and suggestions to work to improve whatever needs attention.

But right now, like the transients in Casablanca, listening to As Time Goes By, I wait and wait and wait........

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