I confess, I am really excited about this. I am very proud of my story, Too Much Tea, which is published today in this beautiful paperback.
I’ve only been writing memoir for around a year – I’ve previously concentrated on fiction. I’ve had to do a lot of thinking – not only about the differences between truth and memoir – which you can read about here on the Guts Publishing blog – but also about craft skills, like how to structure a story when you don’t have creative control over what actually happened.
I’m writing a full length memoir at the moment, and I’m exploring these questions in more depth during that process. It seems to me that there are two different strands in memoir writing – one is a kind of autobiographical fiction, which attempts to recreate a lived experience as if it were a story or a novel, and one is more reflective and philosophical musings on that lived experience.
Too Much Tea is written in the style of fiction. Given the limitations of human memory and individual perspective, everything I included in the piece actually happened – but I have written it as a story. I have imagined dialogue – perhaps some people have the kind of memory that could recall every word spoken, but I am not one of them. I do have a strong visual memory of the room, and of the people, and I know the kinds of things that were said. I remember the emotional content of the situation, and how ashamed I felt afterwards, that I’d let Mr Hatchard down. The dialogue is fundamentally honest and truthful, though not exact.
It’s also the first time I have written a piece specifically for a call for submissions. That I managed that was satisfying – that it was accepted for publication was a real thrill. A stepping stone on the path to feeling like a real writer ™ .
Here’s a short recording of the first few pages of my story. I apologise for the sound quality – that’s just my voice, I’m afraid.
I am disappointed not to be well enough to make it to any of the Stories About Penises events but please do check out the details here on Guts Publishing’s Home Page
The paperback can be purchased from various outlets –
- The Guts Publishing website
- The Word Bookshop, 314 New Cross Road, London SE14 6AF
- Gays The Word Bookshop, 66 Marchmont St, Saint Pancras, London WC1N 1AB
- Amazon – the anthology will be available on Amazon sites worldwide on 28 November.
- If you loathe Amazon, there are many other online retailers who will be stocking the book. Too many to list. If you want to shop around, google this (ISBN and title): 9781999882327 Stories About Penises