Thursday, January 10, 2013

Providing Privacy in My Books for Family

The trick is to write a compelling and true book without offending your children with either the fact or your own perspective about them.
   The first book I wrote was actually turned in to the publisher in advance of the second. The second was sent to them just shortly after because I had been working on both projects simaltaneously.  The first one took the lion's share of time in editing, and formatting, and therefore actually came to market about thirty days after the second one.   The first book, "What I Learned from Daniel" is a deeply personal account of my take on our youngest son Daniel, his passing, and our family's survival afterward.  It is difficult writing a true story in which so much of your life, your thinking and your family are shared with the world.  I shared what I believed I was comfortable sharing. I believe Daniel would have been comfortable with the level of sharing I did in the book.  I spoke of my husband and his grief, very carefully, though accurately.  However, sharing our story in a manner which pleases our other children, and the son we adopted afterward is a different matter.
         There is an ad on television where a sixty plus year old physician boosts his testosterone using a particular supplement he is advertising, and then he says something which translates to, "I am more virile than my sons who are in their twenties !"  I always have to wonder whether his sons are speaking to him, as attacking their manhood doesn't seem like an action which inspires recommendations for "Father of the Year".  I didn't want to do that type of thing in my book.  I wanted to tell the story, but not leave my kids feeling as if they were standing naked in my book.  I did this by asking each of them what they were comfortable with my doing.  One of them placed no restrictions on me, because she felt that this was a tribute to Daniel.  Two asked for their names to be changed slightly in the text of the book, so that the story could be true, but that their "frenemies" might not read it all quite so easily.  Yes, frenemy was a new word for me also, although we all have them. I call them distant acquaintances.  The largest challenge was how to manage information on the son we adopted a year after Daniel's passing.  We kept it honest, and with his identifying information limited.
        This is actually a really important task in writing about family. We are painting a portrait of them which could exist in the world for an extended period.  Depending upon how successful a piece is, in the long term, things remembered about them could well be things mentioned in a book written by me.Ir might be alright to share my darkest moments, but it's important to be sensitive in sharing theirs.

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