Monday, July 23, 2012

Dreams & Aspirations

I read Andrew Galasetti's guest blog at on Saturday morning (July 21, 2012) that resonated with me. Near the end of this post, Galasetti writes about his grandfather's writing dreams and how they had nearly died with him. This was particularly moving to me because I spent many years as an editor for a women's cooperative press in Wales, selecting material for three volumes of autobiographical writing by women that, had it not been for Honno, would not have been published or recorded for history.

One of my proudest publishing moments was working on Parachutes and Petticoats and Iancs, Conshis a Spam, two volumes of women's writing about their experiences in World War II. Many of these accounts were harrowing, tragic or triumphant. All were about the indomitable human spirit and our willingness to sacrifice our lives for strangers.
The stimulus for both of these volumes was the stories my mother told me about her experiences during World War II and her childhood. Twenty years before her death, I asked her to write these stories down, intending to include them in one of the volumes. In the end, I edited and published them independently for my family and her grandchildren.

Several of my friends have created similar publications, so that their own personal journeys aren't lost and forgotten. During the latter part of the 20thC, there were hundreds of volumes of diaries and oral history projects undertaken to capture these stories for posterity. Until they were written, recorded or published, these experiences were stories passed on from one generation to another but often not. Now they are history, available to us all.

That is, as long as our smartphones, laptops, ereaders and tablets keep working. Galasetti's book, To Breathe Free, incorporates his grandfather's poetry and will be published in Fall 2012.

If you want a really good yarn, talk to your elders.


Sandy Cody said...

Parachutes and Petticoats sounds like a wonderful book. I agree completely with what you say about the importance of capturing the stories of our elders so we can preserve them and pass them along to our children and grandchildren.

Beate Boeker said...

It's so important not to forget history - and history books just don't bring it across the way journals do. Thank you for presenting this very interesting book, Leigh!

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

Thank you, Sandy and Beate. I've been away or I'd have responded sooner... that pesky Minnie Mouse kept me busy! Thank you for your comments.