Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Memoir

HOW HARD CAN THIS BE? This was the feeling of the authors when they first thought of doing a family memoir. Seven years down the road and finally, Brothers. So, what has been the difficulty? To the authors, coordinating the stories. Although they are involved with each other, almost daily through phone calls, emails, text messaging, you would think this should be a cinch. What they learned quickly was that often they had to deal with the same story but various interpretations. Talking about real places and events, yet under the best of intentions, sometimes they are not so sure they got it right. After struggling for awhile, they finally decided on the subtitle, "a somewhat true memoir." You only know what someone else told you or how they think it was. All the brothers thought this was pretty hit and miss. One said, we are describing a past event that we hope brings us to at least a semblance of the way it was.

When the brothers started out, by their own admission, they didn't have a clue what would evolve. One brother set about to state the facts. This is the way it was as he remembered it. And, it was impossible not to tag on some opinion. And, where was that in our story? Our idea was that we wanted this for our children and grandchildren. The reality is that we wanted it for ourselves. It would be fun remembering and what we knew is that we had lots of stories to tell.

When asked what would be the advice to someone who wanted to write a memoir, the brothers feel that the best thing is to "just start." The story will take over says Raz, who is 13 years older than his youngest brother. Naturally our perspective may be somewhat different but our love of family and our surroundings growing up became very real as we wrote about it. As we wrote the book, manuscripts were flying back and forth between California and North Carolina.

The authors laugh that their childhood traumas were really few if any. Jerry says, "I can’t begin to tell you how often we wrestled with the idea that we can hardly believe our lives were so good growing up. The "proud poor" is a term we've coined and surely not original with us. Poor but not knowing it. In order to make the best story, we needed some trauma and dramatic events."

What is readily apparent listening to the authors is a feeling that this has been hard but good. A kind of tribute to their parents, their upbringing, and to their community. And, such a great love of country and recognizing that their service in the military forever changed them and in a sense made Brothers possible.