I was 42 when my first son was born and six and a bit years later, my fourth son took his first breath. I felt myself to be a very fortunate man, a feeling that persists to this day.
A few years ago, it occurred to me that if I ever had grandchildren, it was likely that they would not remember much, if anything, of me and my ancestry. I decided to write down what I could remember of my parents and their history, of my own travels, of people that had been a great influence on me, of places where I had lived, of some of my experiences.
But how to go about publishing it without boring the pants off a poor reader. I recall discussing my aspiration with my good and learned Chilean friend, Laín Burgos-Lovéce. He suggested that I write it as a blog.
Do you know the meaning of the word ‘blog’? I certainly did not, so I looked it up. It turned out to be a web-log, or a form of shared on-line diary. I learned something new, but I still did not have a clear idea of how to go about formally writing my memoirs. My aspirations marked time.
It was later, when I read Camilo José Cela’s classic, ‘La Colmena’, that I realised that I could write my thoughts in stand-alone articles, and later piece them together in chronological order. It is a lot like a seanchaí, a traditional Irish story teller, comfortably seated by the fireside, a drink in hand, entertaining his audience with his tales.
Initially, I restricted publication to family and close friends, but eventually, I opened it up to the public; it was pointed out to me that somebody that I once knew, but with whom I had lost contact, might stumble upon my writings and contact me.
And that has now happened several times and I am so grateful for the opportunity for the renewed acquaintances. With each has come a flood of nostalgia.
It has now been two years since I published my first article, and to date there have been 111 of them. And there have been viewers from 46 countries. It is humbling to evidence the power of the internet to connect people.
So what’s next?
Well, I still have more than 50 articles that I have yet to write and no doubt there are a plethora of others that have not yet surfaced. Every time I finish writing one, I get at least two new ideas. Sooner or later, I will put then into a book form, to gift to those of my relatives and some friends who have no access or no desire to access the internet.
So, now for number 112… 🙂