After a break of a few weeks Terry Anne and I are now back to our Monday Morning Musings. Well, I call it a break but actually we haven’t had a proper holiday this summer. Apart from some weekends away I’ve been working. For the last few months I have been trialling a brand new programme that teaches anyone, experienced writers or not, to finally get around to writing down their stories. You know, the stories you wish you’d written down already for your children and grandchildren? And the ones about your own parents that they never got around to writing down either? And better still, along the way, I have been finally getting around to writing my own life stories too.
Let me tell you how it happened.
My father passed away a year ago last week. Hard to fathom, I know, but there it is. He spent the last few weeks of his life in a care home. As you may remember, he was very ill with cancer and also suffered from dementia. Luckily, oh so luckily, Josh and I had interviewed Pa two years earlier so that we could write about him and produce a book to celebrate his 90thbirthday. I took that book to his care home.
“Thank you so much,” Shelly, one of my favourite nurses, said to me one day. “That book is amazing. Now I know who your father really is. Now I know what to talk to him about.”
Now Shelly, and the other nurses, knew that frail old gentleman – and yes, they described Pa as a ‘gentleman – had been passionate about aeroplanes and had written articles for aircraft magazines. He had loved to act and been in many plays. He had loved to travel and visited us all over the world and he had loved his family, his home, his dog and writing.
The impact this simple book had on the final weeks of his life spurred me to create a programme that anyone could follow. I call it The Life Story Jar and 26 people are testing it right now. Very soon, before Christmas, it will go on sale to the general public.
Have I been to the beach? We live a few minutes’ cycle from the sea after all. Twice. Have I sat outside a café with a glass of wine to watch the people go by? Once or twice. The summer is almost over and I have spent it in my office. Happily spent it on my computer.
Okay, I admit it, when you read this I will be on a short sailing holiday in Croatia with Ian and dear friends, so it’s not as if I have been deprived.
What have you been up to?