Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Retrospective Exercise




I have decided to concentrate my energies in my spare time to seeing if I can concoct a novel - loosely based (of course) on my own life experiences. To this end I am going through old correspondence: it seems I have kept every letter anyone ever sent to me since 1975, when I left the UK for good and kept in touch with everyone by Snail mail. This is becoming the strangest of experiences: I have forgotten good friends who sent me regularly 10-page letters when I was going through the trauma of different relationships, I have kept every weekly letter from mother, with its consequent trivia: I even have a small series of letters from my father - the worst letter writer ever - but he wrote to me faithfully during the year when my mother refused to communicate when we were at odds over my ultimate choice of husband. All these are so precious. I have letters from girls I worked with when I lived in Israel for three years. I am so ashamed that I have struggled to remember their faces. But these precious documents are all before Facebook and e-mail. I have letters which I have completely forgotten - from a dear male friend I had at university: he was the best friend of a boy my best friend lusted after and so we sometimes went on foursomes. Once I slept with him (it was the Sixties after all ) - although I was not attracted - he had rather an underbite - but he was such a nice big and friendly guy. It seems I wrote to him years later, asking advice for my entanglements of the moment. I chuckle now when I read his ten-page missives - so witty and self-deprecating. Why did I not realise it at the time ? Did he perhaps really fancy me? I feel tempted to try to trace him. It's so easy today isn't it. I wouldn't want to upset his wife (surely he is married and has grandchildren by now) but as I age, I begin to wonder if it isn't a true gift of today's digital world that we can make contact with our past and perhaps, with hindsight, make better sense of it. I assure you that I adore my husband - I love every hair on his head and every wrinkle on his face - and wouldn't change him for the world: but it is very tempting to get in touch with 'the past' and to try to make sense of everything by relating it (with the wisdom of hindsight) to 'where we are now.' Perhaps I'll try: this 'friend' had a family farm in Scotland. I still have the address. I'll keep you posted......


6 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are embarking on a wonderful journey! I may have only known you through this blog for a short time, but I am sure that a book based, even just loosely, on your life will be very interesting to read! Memories are a treasure that so few people actually make the effort to keep. I used to keep a journal when I was young but when I got divorced, my ex-wife, out of spite, destroyed them! It seems when things are happening, that we will never forget them, but in truth, there is so little that our minds hold on to. It is wonderful that you have so many things to help you bring those memories back! Good luck on this project!!

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  2. What a wonderful idea! Sifting through all of the old letters must be quite the trip.

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  3. It's actually quite a disturbing trip in many ways. Speaking of diaries though - I have found ones which date back to when I was 10 and 11! Those little ones with about 5 entries per page - crammed with immature pencil writing - full for the whole year! One entry read: "In bed with a bad cold - mum gave me a bowl to be sick into and my friend brought me two annuals and two comics. Watched 'Laramie' on TV"

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  4. I'm so sorry, Book Nut, that you had your old journals destroyed. You have the soul of a writer - you should also try to write a book, maybe your life is too hectic now - but think about it for later. When you retire! Meanwhile, ideas are swirling around in my head - I can even envisage a plot with an ending! I seems I have had to get to this age when I can look around and see what has finally happened to those that walked through my past, in order to know how my 'characters' would react in the story.

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  5. Thank you! I do love to write but as you say, it is very hectic. I have started several projects but get distracted. I have an idea I might try out on my blog though. When I retire, if I haven't done it before then, I do intend to write a book! :) I have so many ideas that I think would be good, at least to me! :)

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