29 November 2008

Should I or shouldn't I?

You just had to do it, didn't you?

Eddie has asked me and Susan to write something called 'Memoirs.' I say "something called 'memoirs'" rather than 'memoirs' because it is not at all clear to me what he (and Johnny, who seconded the motion) might have in mind.

Famous people (and sometimes infamous people) write books containing descriptions of, and commentary on, experiences they have had, often with other famous (or infamous) people. These are what I think of when I hear the word 'memoir.'

Perhaps he really means an autobiography. I am not famous - and I hope I am not infamous - nor have I ever known anyone famous nor the other thing.

I recall when I was in my early 20s wishing I had asked my grandparents more about their own lives. In part I was just interested in the times they lived in. My father's stepfather's mother - whom we called "Grandma Turner" - would have been born, by my calculation, in the 1850s. She would probably have been in her 30s or 40s before encountering a telephone, a motorcar, an electric light. My father's own mother - Grandma Lena - was born in 1886. In 1882 Robert Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head. Stories of Jesse James sound extremely ancient to me, yet I knew Grandma Lena very well, indeed. Ancient history and family history are not so far apart.

Eddie craves what I craved - to know, to be part of the Whole of which his own parents are parts.

Yet it is a dangerous thing Eddie asks! He has asked John Jensen - the Person Who Has Never Learned How To Give A Short Answer To Any Question - to write on his favourite subject - himself.


I shall do so. I don't know, in advance, just what sort of structure these will take (even chaos is a sort of structure, I suppose). In order to spare hoi polloi, I will tag them with a label "Memoirs - Dad." My understanding is that this means you can instantly tell from the blog what category they are in. If you have any interest in the stuff I write, but none in hearing how, when I was eight years old, I and my brother built a 'fort' to defend ourselves against the 'other kids' from the other block - then you can skip those.

You have been warned!

Now Eddie appears as keen to hear from Susan, and I confess, I am, also. She - not being so totally wrapped up in herself as I am - is going to be a bit harder to get moving. She may feel that no one could be interested in ... whatever she would write about her life. But I will see if I can get her going on the thing.

In the meantime...

This will have to do for starters. I am about to eat lunch, then off to rehearsal.

What?! Another concert??!!

Yes. Next week-end - 6-7 December - we are playing Beethoven's 3rd Symphony ("The Eroica") - also some Mahler songs, a Wagner overture ("Die Meistersinger"), a short piece written for us.

But as soon as I can - almost certainly not for another week - I will start.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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