Several years ago, we set out on a hike in Switzerland with our three children. It began to pour with rain, but we’re hardy people; rain doesn’t deter us. We knew we’d have to traverse a narrow ledge ahead, but hey, we could do it. Then we passed a couple going the other way. “You’re brave,” they said. That’s when we turned back.

Hiking in Switzerland

When you hear those two words, “You’re brave,” you suddenly think, “Am I brave? Do I want to be brave? Have I made a big mistake?”

When we heard those words on that hike, we realised we didn’t want to be so brave and didn’t go to that ledge. There was no problem doing that. This memoir author, who also worried about those words, would have had more difficulty pulling out if she’d wanted to. Fortunately, she decided she didn’t.

My MemoirI’m still planning to write a memoir one day. I’ve even thought of a format and written the first chapter. The revelations in it won’t be as hard as the ones Susan Burrowes owned up to. And many of the people in it are no longer alive and able to be hurt by it. Someone wants me to leave something out. It’s a very small part of the whole and can easily be omitted. It shows something important, but there are other examples.

That's me

 

 

I’ll have to be ready for people to tell me I’m brave. I think I will be.

Have you been told you’re brave? How did you react?

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In the past, when people asked me what I did, I’d say, “Well, for a long time I was a computer programmer, and then I was a technical writer.” If they looked confused at that – and most did – I’d say, “I wrote manuals explaining how to use software,” and they’d nod, whether they understood or not.

WhatDoYouDo

Then they’d ask, or I’d feel I had to add, “Now I’m at home and I write.” With raised eyebrows they’d ask, “What sort of thing do you write?” and I’d mumble, “Oh, different things.” Then came the inevitable question: “Have you had anything published?” to which I’d mumble, “A couple of short stories in anthologies,” as if they don’t really count – not because I think that’s true, but because they probably do. Their question probably meant, “Have you had a whole book published?”

Suddenly, everything has changed. Now when people ask me what I do, I say, “Ani soferet” – I’m an author. They look at me with wide eyes. “Wow!” And I smile and nod.

But something bothers me about all this. Was it the signing of a contract that turned me into an author? Surely I’ve been an author since I started writing. Why couldn’t I ever say that before?

On the other hand, I suppose I couldn’t say it because I’d have felt I didn’t deserve the “Wow!” that followed.

Anyway, it’s happened now and I’ve taken a big leap and landed in a bed of Cats – Crooked Cats. There is even a catalogue.