I mentioned in my introduction that I have lived and travelled far and wide and this continues to be the case. I was no doubt borne under a wandering star and no matter how hard I resist, it continues to clasp me in its embrace, influencing my life willingly or otherwise. I am therefore rarely in one place for too long. Thank heavens for laptops and the Internet!
So, here I am sitting in a large relaxing chair next to the window of a wide sloping corridor, elegantly decorated. As I glance up the view which greets me is that of a rather gray, stormy see with the occasional wave crashing against the side of the ship, sending a white spray of sea water against the window next to me. I am on the Queen Mary 2, the flagship of the Cunard line. We are currently off the west coast of Britain on our way to the beautiful Irish town of Cork and then on to a number of Scottish ports offering equally stunning scenery.
Ireland is also known as the Emerald Isle, due to its beautiful lush green landscape. It can only be so due to the high rainfall, hence the gray skies and equally gray seas I am surrounded by. The many different shades of gray are interspersed by the odd patch of blue sky. It acts as a reminder that on occasions the skies in this part of the world are a colour other than gray, even if only for a brief period.
I continue with my musings regarding the process of writing my tribute and I have shared with you the many questions that I had to unexpectedly grapple with when I first started writing. Questions I did not anticipate when I first made the decision to do so. Having weighed up all the pros and cons of the many writing styles I could adopt, my decision was that I would be writing it through my own experience of the individual and collective lives of Eugene and Pieter.
As with any personal account attempting to depict the life and experiences of another person or even an historical event means it is therefore the interpretation of the one doing the writing. As the author you decide what to include and what to omit. It is like looking at a scene through one particular window, ignoring different perspectives other windows may reveal. If my tribute were written from another’s point of view, the story would no doubt be different as they would be looking through a different window and therefore selecting different aspects of the lives of Eugene and Pieter. My tribute is therefore my personal view of their lives as seen and experienced through my eyes and emotions.
Some of my friends and acquaintances are understandably of the opinion that I am writing this book for me, as a cathartic experience to help me come to terms with the loss of Eugene. I will not argue that this might very well be a contributing factor. However, I feel compelled to share what I interpret as a modern day version or a new twist on Love Story or a gay version of Romeo and Juliet.
As I am writing these thoughts I know that my brother’s wicked sense of humour would have found the latter hilarious to say the least! As a natural performer and entertainer he would already have had images of himself with long flowing locks standing on a medieval balcony, waiting for Pieter to agilely scale the climbing vegetation and come to his rescue. Am I getting my stories mixed up I wonder? Nevertheless, you get the picture!
Finally, the book I referred to in my previous blog, Take Off your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker, has been a tremendous help in helping me to realise it is not necessary to see the writing I am now engaged in as opposite to my previous academic writing. The book argues that writing is about integrating a structure without compromising the creative process.
Instead, the proposed structure provides the framework that facilitates the emergence of the story. I can therefore let go of my internal battle of seeing my academic discipline as being in opposition to the journey on which I have embarked. Instead, it will provide me with the necessary discipline to craft a structure within which I can play and be creative, allowing my voice to emerge.