Many people want to write the story of their life, or their parents’ lives, or their forebears before their parents… here is something Lois Elsden wrote some time ago:

Although I do so much writing, and I down write about the things which have happened to me and which I have experienced, I have not actually written or even thought of writing my life story. Perhaps I think people wouldn’t be interested, even my children might not be interested… although maybe future generations might like to read about the most amazing era that I have lived through, so many changes in every possible way… I also have so much else to write, working on my life story would be way,way, way down the list!

When occasionally people have mentioned autobiographies and talked about them and how to write them, my mind does wander over how I might do it… should I ever get round to it. My husband has written part of his, and he did it in bits, music, art, childhood, bands, teenage years, family, teaching etc… Because I write fiction, and write within the ordinary conventions of fiction (I’m not experimental t all, I just want to tell a story!) I think I would have to write it in the style of fiction… there wouldn’t be a plot, just  a series of events, so I guess I might tackle it as a series of episodes… would I manipulate the actual facts to make it in my opinion read better? Might I shorten a time span, conflate events, merge other people into single characters? Would I be trying to give a flavour, an idea an impression rather than a factual statement? Well, I’m not going to think about it yet!

However… however, yesterday I was talking to someone I don’t know very well although I’ve met her many times, and we were exchanging greetings and casual remarks, and I mentioned I was writing, and like so many other people she said, oh! she would love to write! she would love to write her life story! She would love to set down what happened to her in the past,all the difficulties and challenges, and how she overcame them, and how she came to be the person she is now…

My response was, well, do it!! And I offered to help – not to write it, but to have a chat, if she wanted, and talk about different ways she could approach it,and what she might put in,and what she might leave out etc… not the actual details, that’s private to her, but the general sweep of events and episodes which brought her to where she is now.

I don’t know if she will really have a go, with or without me, I hope she does, because she seemed so excited at the idea, and it’s obviously something she’s thought about! I’ll be interested to see how her story progresses, if it does,not to know anything about her life, but just as a new writer!

© Lois Elsden 2017

If you haven’t read Lois’s novels, including her genealogical mysteries, here is a link:


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