The why of it

You have spoken, dear Reader!

This is the blog which will contain my reflections on the process of writing a memoir entitled How to Avoid a Happy Life. I did a straw poll, which heartily endorsed having a separate site from my website containing young-people-related bookish content. So, this is it.

For years I have had people saying to me: you should write a memoir. But I had no idea how I would form the wildly varied and chaotic and weird collection of experiences into something coherent. Then my mother died at the end of 2019, and the ensuing extremity of grief and the re-triggering of trauma meant that writing became a necessity. I had to make order of the chaos. And the only way I could do this was by adding liberal doses of irony to temper the ‘did that shit really happen?’ nature of it all.

I am undertaking this with the mentoring support of US writer and memoirist Howard Norman. He is a Vermont-based novelist and memoirist whose has twice been named as a finalist for the National Book Award in the United States and whose books have been translated into fourteen languages. He has received the Lannan Award in Literature and is Professor Emeritus of Literature at the University of Maryland. If that wasn’t enough achievement, he has also received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, the Harold Morton Landon Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the New England Book Award.

Howard is also a great human. If you haven’t read his memoir I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place, I highly recommend it, along with all of his other books. They’re tricky to get in Australia, but worth your persistence.

I look forward to sharing the process of writing, re-writing, and reflection with you.

My mother Gwen with her piano accordion 1961-ish

One thought on “The why of it

Comments are closed.