Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It’s been two months since my last posting. For about five weeks I was fighting a cold and couldn’t run, thus cutting off the prime source of blog material. Then my film deal fell through turning my thoughts from stalking readers for my books to formulating new writing plans. I strongly considered abandoning this blog. I didn’t know if anyone was even reading it. But then I discovered a reader identifying himself as “Jockomo” and expressing a concern for both my health and further postings. I couldn’t help but respond to Jockomo.
Yes, I am healthy and trying to get back into shape. I can run two miles and am working up to three. Strangely enough, I have had little contact with people during my runs, perhaps due to winter weather, and thus little inspiration for the blog. But, I will tell you about what has occupied my thoughts for the last few weeks.
The sequel to “Mother and Me” was released by my publisher this past November, under the title, “A Ship in the Harbor.” There is a second sequel (trequel?) named “Loves of Yulian,” at the publisher now, hopefully for release next year. This second sequel ends as my mother and I sail into New York harbor in May of 1941 and Mother drags me on deck at some ungodly hour of the morning to see the Stature of Liberty. I am nine years old and would much rather go back to bed. Since this ends our odyssey of escape from the invading Nazis, I considered it a proper ending for the memoir series.
But readers have become so interested in the character of Barbara, my mother, that they have been asking for a fourth book, telling them what happened once this firecracker got to the States. And I, like any author, have fallen in love with my leading characters. If Barbara wouldn’t allow herself to be loved as a mother, she could not stop me from loving her as a character and wanting to give her a final curtain call worthy of her earlier heroics.
Unfortunately, that is not the way it happened. Some of the traits that made Barbara an exciting character in the drama of WW II, revealed themselves as tragic character flaws later in life, making for an ending that was not in keeping with the endings of the other three books. I know that life is messy and everyone has dirty laundry, but I’ve discovered that I am not a tragedian, and my mother’s tragedy is not how I want to end my memoir.
Still, there is so much more to the story, and, as a storyteller, I cannot resist. Were this a work of fiction, I could easily shape the ending to my taste, but it’s not – it’s a memoir. And I have spent several weeks pondering this problem. How do I put an ending acceptable to me, on an uncooperative memoir?
Finally, I wrote a prologue that lays my problem out for the reader. Book IV, I explain, will be a memoir, most of the way, with a just a few changes. Those who really, really want to know what really, really happened, will not be satisfied. But those who, like me, have come to love Barbara as a character of literature will, hopefully find satisfaction and fulfillment in her last hurrah.
And so, there it is. I don’t have a title for it yet, and I don’t know if my publisher will want to publish it. I don’t even know if I will ever finish it. But that’s where I’m at now.
I hope to be back in a week or so with more material. Any of you who may want to contact me directly can reach me at Just make sure in the “subject” line that I don’t mistake if for spam. And as for you, Jockomo, thank you for getting me back into harness.