Over breakfast this morning, I scanned a snippet about the celebrity, Snooki. It seems that she is terrified that her children might walk in while she and her new hubby are having sex. My gut reaction to this disclosure was “And I need to know this why?” Is Snooki and her fears, her sex life etc., any different from yours or mine, the ordinary, unfamous person who grows up, marries, has children etc etc.? But she, and all the other so-called “beautiful people” make headlines for such disclosures.
Most of the rest of us, the ordinary people, die unheard of. But are we really that ordinary? I think not, and in 2015, I hope to give some publicity to some extraordinary, “ordinary” people I’ve had the joy of meeting over 2014. How? I am currently putting together a magazine for memoir writers titled “Memoirabilia”.
The idea for “Memoirabilia” was born during the memoir workshops I’ve been running for Turner Park Branch of the Hamilton Public Library. It was strengthened when I attended the 2014 Readers Favorite Book Awards in Miami in November. As attendees in the workshops, and award winners in Miami shared their stories, I heard about the heartache & pain of raising children afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome; of another mother’s shock when she realized her adult son had “gone bad” and spent time in prison as a result of undisclosed childhood sexual abuse; of the deep-seated pain of a young woman whose mother wished she was never born; of a beautiful woman who has spent a decade trying to recover from the loss of her 16-year-old son in a car accident; of another woman who was forced to spend 33 years in hiding, moving from city to city, because she’d witnessed a murder … all extraordinary stories in the lives of “ordinary” people.
Some of these people, the ones I met at the awards, have already self-published their memoirs. Others, in my workshops, are working on writing theirs. The odds are they, like me, won’t even score a Snooki snippet in their local papers. So I want to give them some exposure and I hope to do that in “Memoirabilia”, which will also provide useful articles on writing memoir (s), along with guest editorials, book reviews, writer submissions and links to resources.
The Turner Park Library is hosting a launch of the magazine on March 24, 2015 at 7pm. We have invited 4 local writers to speak about the process of writing their memoirs. Our guest speakers include:
Patricia Gagic, author of the inspirational book, “Karmic Alibi”
Thanh Campbell, author of the fascinating “Orphan 32”
Rita Bonnici, author of the important “Parents with Price Tags”
Barbara Studham, author of “Two Decades of Diapers” (not yet live at time of this posting but coming soon)
We hope local readers and writers of memoir will come out to support and learn from these ordinary people with extraordinary stories and pick up a copy of “Memoirabilia” which will also be available online. Details to follow in future newsletters. If you know of someone who might be interested in this magazine, and in submitting for inclusion, encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter. By the way, the newsletter name will shortly be changed from “Vianvisions” to “Vigaland”, my writing world as I see it.
And just to wrap up 2014 from a personal perspective, I want to say my sincerest thanks to all of you who have purchased my books, “No Tears for My Father” my true story of incest, and my recent follow-up book of recovery after incest, “Learning to Love Myself”. Sales of my second book have been slower than hoped, but those who have read it have assured me it’s just as good, if not better, than the first book. So if you don’t yet have a copy, it’s available in both printed and electronic form for all e-readers (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks) from my personal website at http://www.vigaboland.com. By the way, “No Tears for my Father” not only won a Gold Medal in the 2014 Readers Favorite Book Awards, but was just recently selected as one of the top 100 Notable Books of 2014 by Shelf Unbound. That was a nice, unexpected extra acknowledgement of my memoir. I’m so grateful to them, and to all of you have supported me with your purchases, and especially for leaving me reviews at both Amazons and Goodreads. Those reviews help sell the books. If you haven’t yet left me one for “Learning to Love Myself”, please do.
In case you haven’t heard, I am now writing my third memoir, “The Ladies of Loretto”, based on my 4 years attending a Catholic girls high school, Loretto College School (Brunswick) in Toronto from 1960 – 1964. This book is a bit of a departure from the previous 2 books with lots of humour, some nostalgia and only super subtle hints of what else was going on in my life during those years. It’s a light-weight read, all written in the present tense, and will bring up memories for those who were just ordinary teens attending private schools in the days of American Bandstand, JFK, the Stanley Cup and the advent of the Beatles. Something to look forward to, I hope, from an “ordinary” woman who believes we are all extraordinary.
Here’s wishing you and yours all the best of the season and extraordinary joy and success in 2015.