A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Partnering in Memoir Writing: The experience of artist Mimi Boothby

       Memoir often addresses times of pain and struggle. Writing about difficult times of life can bring back memories that cause us to relive the stress and pain, but it can also be a cathartic experience.   Readers of this type of memoir are given a window into a life that includes the good and the bad.  Memoirs of this sort should be instructional as well as uplifting.

        Mimi Boothby has written about the life that she shared with her late husband.  Before his passing he contributed his side of the story which offered a unique perspective to the relationship.  I'll let my guest, Mimi Boothby tell you about their experience:


"Arboretum" by Mim Boothby


I can remember when my sons were in high school, one of them told me that he was the only one of his friends who had a sit down dinner with his whole family almost every night of the week. It was about that time that we realized that had something special. It honestly surprised me, because we had been through so much already, we had had a really rocky marriage.

When I married my husband in 1978, if my parents had actually been present, they probably would have strongly advised against our tying the knot. As it turned out, 3 months after we started dating, we got married and neither of my parents were present for the ceremony. His parents came, and honestly, if I had known them prior to that day, I am not sure that I would have married him!

We were married for almost 35 years, and after a really chaotic first ten years, our relationship started to get better. We learned how to live together and work together. After the kids left home, we started focusing on each other, and by and by, we noticed that we had become a role model for other couples. We really did have something special. We used to talk about maybe we ought to write a book on relationships. My husband, who was in a twelve step program, and sponsored many men through recovery, gave them a lot of advice about relationships. Of course his advice was based on what we had done ourselves. At this point, he wrote "Advice from Donald on Relationships." I loved it and saved it carefully (it is in our book).

In 2011, my husband was diagnosed with a really nasty form of cancer. Suddenly, those dreams we had of growing old together vaporized like so many soap bubbles. And we lived each day together with even more realization of how precious each one was.

One day while my husband was in the hospital fighting for his life, we decided that we needed to write this book. I wrote the first chapter and showed it to him. He loved it and wrote the second, it was his response what I wrote. We did it in a "he says she says" format. Armed with his laptop, he composed and printed out rough drafts for my sons to proof read. Starting from our youth, and finishing with our mature relationship the book quickly fleshed out, we added photos and put it in a blog format just to keep it safe. As his fight for life got more intense, the book was put aside. After he died I forgot the book for a while, caught up in grief. But then one sunny day I remembered, and finished my part of it.

What we wrote is a testimony to our love, an autobiography and memoir of our marriage. I believe that someone reading it can learn from it and maybe improve their own relationships. I changed almost nothing that he wrote, because I wanted to preserve his style. I used Lulu as my publisher and even got an ISBN number. If I wanted to jump through a certain number of hoops, I could sell it on Amazon, but I have not done that yet. I know this book will never make the best seller list, but my children and close friends have this memento, a little piece of history. I know that if I ever have grandchildren, this will be required reading, because it will be a way to acquaint them with the wonderful grandfather they never met. All in all, it was a good experience and I recommend it.

The Other Side of LoveLinks to Mimi Boothby's work:

Our book - The other side of love

my blog Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors (Be sure to see Mimi's wonderful artwork)

Donald's Blog The Boothby Chronicles






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6 comments:

MimiTabby said...

Thanks for posting this article. I realized that there was no "ebook" option. I just added it, if anyone wants to read it, it's free

http://www.lulu.com/shop/donald-and-mimi-boothby/the-other-side-of-love/ebook/product-21353156.html

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Thank you for this uplifting post. I'd love to read the memoir.

shelly said...

This was a very sweet post.

D.G. Hudson said...

Nice to meet you Mimi! Now you have a keepsake to remember your husband with, and I'm sure many would like to read about your advice on relationships. Good Luck!

Damyanti said...

This is such an inspiring story. Thanks for writing it, Mimi, and thanks Lee, for hosting her!

suesconsideredtrifles said...

I admire people who are able to write about painful experiences, thus helping others.
In the past I have always shied away from this kind of writing, but I could have an interesting book to write. Sue