The story of a book
Every book has several stories to tell us.
If the book in question happens to be a work of fiction or collection of short stories, then I guess that I’m merely re-stating the obvious. But let’s not forget the tales of a book that are often never written down.
Two , in particular, come to mind: the story of a book’s relationship with its author and the story of a book’s relationship with its readers.
This particular story began very simply and for a very practical reason – as a letter to my children. I wanted them to have a permanent record of their own beginnings, for when they were old enough to inquire further about this time of their lives. As a ‘Eurostar dad’, living between two sets of kids in two countries, permanently travelling between both, I also wanted to set the records straight and capture for them those moments that – to me at least – defined us as a family and shaped our history.
In short, I wrote stories to my children as a kind of love poetry.
Almost from the beginning, however, these stories took on a public form. Initially shared only tentatively with my closest friends, it took me somewhat by surprise to discover how they quickly stimulated new and interesting conversations about the complex nature of modern family life. It was as if by telling my own story, some of the people around me felt better placed to discuss the story of their own lives – the joy, the pain, the challenges, and the sorrow.
I guess, in that sense, storytelling is infectious.
The past eight years therefore became both a conversation with my children and a conversation with others. Together, we became a band of fellow travellers – sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers – all trying to ‘make sense’ of modern family life; all trying to weave these complex themes into some kind of meaningful whole.
And all I can say is that it has been my absolute privilege to get to know some truly wonderful people along the way – people who have shared similar experiences, offered new insights, or simply always been there with an encouraging word.
Of course, it didn’t mean that everyone agreed with the stories I was writing. I quickly realized that these tales would always divide opinion. One person’s favorite therefore became an irrelevance to others. Some simply disagreed with my perspective and used the story as a platform to state their own point of view.
And that was fine too. After all, any kind of reaction is always more welcome to an author than no reaction at all!
The story of how this book came into being may be nearing its end and this is my opportunity to thank so many of you for taking part.
I have this sense, though, that another story is just beginning and it will be for you, the readers, to determine precisely how the tale finally ends.
This book is currently on sale on at Amazon.com.