‘I haven’t been educated about writing,’ she told me, ‘so how can I write a book?’
I was meeting a book coaching client for the first time and did she have a story to tell. Her life had been harrowing yet exciting, depths of grief and peaks of triumph. It was a story of ups and downs, a tortuous and bumpy road scattered with such hilarity and fortitude that her grandchildren would never look at her the same way again. Unbeknown to them, granny was a heroine.
My grandmother client didn’t look like a secret agent. It was hard to imagine her now frail body once huddled in the damp undergrowth, finger curled around a trigger, waiting to ambush a military motorcade. She described the process for laying out explosives in the hope of derailing a munitions train. ‘It’s all a matter of timing,’ she casually told me.
I won’t mention the passionate love affairs. I’m hoping she’ll do that. ‘We were living on our nerves and had nothing to lose,’ she tells me. ‘They were difficult times. We could be dead the next day, or tortured for information—our worst nightmare.’
Did I write the book for her? No, she did it herself. What she needed to know was how to start and where to go next. We talked about structure, direction and content, breaking things down to simple, manageable concepts. With clarity of purpose came relief and excitement. The project was suddenly achievable. Everything else flowed from her wonderful memory, filling the pages. And it didn’t matter about grammar at all. That’s for someone else to sort out.
When I mentioned this over a cup of coffee with Jane Teresa recently, I was surprised to learn the origin of the word education. I really should have known. It comes from the Latin Educare meaning to bring out that which is within.
What story do you have to tell?