Margaret Catchpole – a hero, a celebrity or just a woman?

Well I have finished my Margaret Catchpole memoir and totally enjoyed the efforts of Laurie Chater Forth.  Laurie and her team apparently conducted quite in-depth research to reveal a reasonable understanding of Margaret’s life. I learnt quite a deal not only about Margaret but about life for a female convict at that time, alone and with no rights as a woman or a life prisoner.

Being a writer of sorts, a nurse and a midwife and one whose life appears to be one of service, I identified with Margaret Catchpole in many respects. I doubt though that I have Margaret’s unresolved optimism and determination to continue to live a life of dedication and positive attitude, which I think she must have to achieve her popularity and good will of her community. Continue Reading

Is a Memoir all Fact?

When writing a memoir, the issue of fact or fiction must be addressed. It is an issue often discussed amongst memoirists and a fear born out of a deceiving one’s readers.

The issue came to mind recently when reading the novel written about Margaret Cathpole’s life as written by Reverend Richard Cobbold, the Rector of Worthham, Suffolk (http://hawkesburywriters.org.au/margaret-catchpole-her-life-and-her-letters/s).

People in the Hawkesbury did remember Margaret according to the Hawkesbury Writers website when she lived local to them. Their memories were very different to the Reverend Cobbold’s account of Margaret’s life.

The mind can play tricks and even with the best of intentions can replay events not quite as they were. I wrote an account of a memoir of my childhood to do with the opening of the Parkes Radio Telescope.  I then went about and researched the facts of the day and surprisingly many facts were not as I remembered. Of course, I was a child, and interpreted events through my own understanding.Continue Reading

My first memoir book launch

During last weekend, I attended my first book launch. The truth is I have never been invited before and perhaps I wouldn’t have accepted without a personal interest. My interpretation of book launches is champagne fuelled ego-catering strategies to entice you to buy the book in question. I liked the idea of the author reading a few passages but refuted the thought of commercial marketing pressure to purchase.

Of course it was all of these things, let’s face it. What is changed is me. Me. I have changed. I have reclaimed my love of books, book shops and appreciation of all that belongs in the writer’s box of trade.Continue Reading

My Best Friend Memoir

One of my favourite books I recently completed was celebrating those women who have been my besties or my best friends.  There were five of them and what would I have done without them and their mothers, by my side, laughing with me, crying with me and being naughty with me. It is the little things that make a story worth telling, the normal everyday things people do and how they interact.

Originally, I did not intend to include the mothers in my life story, but as the journey progressed, I realised those older women had influenced my life as much as their daughters. Continue Reading