I’m delighted to be taking part in the #Blogival Festival organised by Clink Street and today I’m welcoming Tracy Peppiatt onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell us all about writing a memoir in We Never Let Go. We Never Let Go was published by Clink Street on 23rd March 2016 and is available in e-book and paperback from all good bookshops and Amazon.
We Never Let Go
It is said that a picture paints a thousand words but unless those words are revealed the viewer has to make their own interpretation. A family photograph like thousands of others may give a clue to the location and time through clothing and scenery, but what is not apparent are the thoughts, aspirations, and life of those portrayed. This is a story of a working class family, whose voyage through the rapidly changing society of the 60’s and 70’s, was probably like many others. But the difference with this story is that despite the often genuinely desperate situations that they found themselves, they persevered throughout with love and mutual dependence but primarily because there was little choice. The bond that holds us all together through all of life’s twists and turns and ultimately determines how we turn out in later life is the underlying story that is revealed. However, as we are the product of our response to our experiences through life, we ultimately never let go.
Five Important Things To Consider When Writing A Memoir
A Guest Post by Tracy Peppiatt
Honesty How often do we live our lives as a series of half-truths to ourselves and others. When you are at your lowest you need to realise and accept where you are in order to either seek the help or find the strength to commence the road to recovery. Why do we face these challenges in life? and why does it have to happen to me? How did I get here? Is there a reason for all of this? By addressing these questions we are being honest with ourselves and others and can progress and live a more enlightened and hopefully fulfilling life. In time we can also give forgiveness to those who harmed, abused or caused us pain and in this way we too grow and gain strength from the honesty of being able to forgive. With the loss of my mother I had to find this honesty within me in order to move on with my life.
Reader identification with the story; It is said that ‘We are the product of our life’s experiences’ however this is not strictly true as two people can go through the same experience and have a very different outcome. In my case when I lost my mother at Christmas in 2011, and this is an inevitable consequence for most of us, this was the removal of the foundation upon which my life had been constructed. This resulted in me having a breakdown which was followed by a period of ill health which affected me both physically and mentally. We all have challenges and how we deal with them determines us, so “We are really the product of how we have responded to our life’s experiences”
Exploration of the Past; In choosing to write the story of my relationship with my mother I realised that the story was of the evolving relationship of two women living their lives in parallel at the same time but at two different stages of their lives. We grew up under different circumstances and were living and responding differently as a result of this. Growing up in the exciting and somewhat frivolous 60s and 70s compared to my mother who had known the real austerity of rationing and the uncertainty of War. The definition of poverty is misquoted nowadays but the lack of the basics of food, shelter, clothing and safety were experiences that were perhaps more common in earlier years, and were certainly my experience, although love was always there. I realised whilst writing our story that there was so much more to it than just what we were living through and that her burden of dealing with our daily challenges were added to by her having to provide strength and guidance to a young woman growing up in a strange new world.
Tribute to another person; We meet people for a Reason a Season or a Lifetime. In the case of your mother that person is hopefully for a large part of the Lifetime. For me and for my mother there are so many Reasons for me to be grateful to her and it is only as I get older and go through the Seasons of my life that I realise the great strength and sense of perspective that she selflessly imparted to me that has enabled me to gain and enjoy my Lifetime.
Why is it important? I reached a point where I felt the need to review my own life and consider my own mortality through a reflection of my mother’s life. Once both your parents have gone you realise that in the great way of things you are next! By commencing writing this story I was able to exorcise some of the past demons that had lain dormant in the knowledge that if they came to the fore again then my mother was there to protect me. With her gone I had to face these and address these fears on my own, and in so doing was able to realise and acknowledge the role that she played in keeping our family together through some very tough times. The story is one that will have played out across the generations in many families but the common theme is that we can come to terms with our personal experiences but “Never let go”
About Tracy Peppiatt
I was born and raised in Hull, my mother Hannah was born of a middle class family and my father after serving in the Second World War found work as a fisherman. My childhood wasn’t the happiest, we lived in a working class community and often struggled to make ends meet, my father was often frustrated and aggressive and it was only my mother that kept the family together. My elder sister left home when she was eighteen years old because she wanted to escape and try and make a better life for herself, after she left we weren’t allowed to mention her name around my father which was incredibly sad and difficult. Things got steadily worse as the years went by and my mother ended up leaving my father with me and my siblings and we ended up in a refuge for women suffering domestic violence. My book, We Never Let Go is in memory of my mother, who passed away at Christmas 2011, and who was the centre of the family and succeeded in bringing them up and together, without her we wouldn’t have survived. It also carries the message that there is always hope and the possibility for new beginnings, even in the direst circumstances, and I hope will provide much-needed support for those suffering poverty and domestic violence. Today I live in Middlesex with my husband and enjoy laughter and love every day that was so sadly missing from my childhood and is something I will never take for granted.
The Clink Street #Blogival is running for the whole of June. Find out more with these other bloggers.