Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A special Talented Tuesday Treat with Author Jill Schaefer

Normally, I host "Open Mic Monday", but there's so much talent to showcase that I'm adding a special "Talented Tuesday Treat" this week!  I'm so thrilled to host Jill--her life story is definitely worth reading about and something to be admired.  I'm honored that she's with me today.  Please welcome the gifted author Jill Schaefer to center stage!  


I HAVE WRITTEN TWO BOOKS. OR MEMOIRS,  WHICH I’M TOLD ARE PENNED ONLY BY  CELEBRITIES—WHICH I AM NOT.

THEY ARE NOT AUTOBIOGRAPHIES EITHER—A STORY WITH A BEGINNING,  A MIDDLE AND AN END--THE TERM UNIFIED LINEAR NARRATIVE.

MY BOOKS ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ AND ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA –ENGLISH STYLE-‘ ARE SLICES OF MY LIFE, OR MEMOIRS.   I WILL, HOWEVER,  START AT THE BEGINNING, ONTO THE MIDDLE AND THROUGH TO THE END OF HOW I CREATED THESE BOOKS.

BEGINNING;
IN THE EARLY 1980s WE WERE LIVING WITH OUR THREE SONS ON CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL COAST.  MY HUSBAND WAS RECOVERING FROM COLON CANCER AND WITH A NEW LEASE ON LIFE, WE DECIDED THAT LIFE WAS TOO SHORT NOT TO FOLLOW OUR DREAMS—SO WE SOLD OUR BUSINESS, DOWNSCALED OUR HOME, LIVED OFF THE PROCEEDS, TOOK ODD JOBS/SECRETARIAL AND TRANSLATIONS, TOURED THE U.S. IN A CAMPER AND VISITED FAMILY IN EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA.  

I ALSO TOOK A WRITING COURSE WHERE THE TEACHER GAVE A TOPIC TO WRITE ABOUT EVERY WEEK.  HE READ ALL MY ESSAYS ALOUD AND ENCOURAGED ME IN WRITING ABOUT GROWING UP IN WORLD WAR II-‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ AND MY TEENAGE ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY TO CALIFORNIA IN THE 1950s – ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA-ENGLISH STYLE-‘.

I ENCOURAGED MY HUSBAND TO RECORD PARALLEL STORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD PRE, DURING AND AFTER WORLD WAR II IN GERMANY UNTIL WE MET.

ALTHOUGH THE STORIES WERE ALL TRUE, I CHANGED NAMES TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT!!!

DURING A 6 MONTH PERIOD I WROTE THREE BOOKS, THE TWO HERE, AND THE LAST ONE WHICH I AM PRESENTLY REVISING.   A LOCAL NEWSPAPER REPORT ON MY BOOKS QUOTES MY WORDS ON MY WRITING PROCESS:

 “I WAS IN THAT WRITING SPIRIT, AND THE FLOODGATES POURED INTO ME AND I HAD TO GET IT OUT,’
‘IT WAS PAINFUL.  I FELT LIKE, ‘STOP THIS.  GIVE ME SOME PEACE.”

ENOUGH!   THE FLOW OF THOUGHTS SLOWED DOWN.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  SO PILES OF TYPED MANUSCRIPTS WENT INTO THE PROVERBIAL DRAWER AND IT WAS ON TO OTHER THINGS.

MIDDLE;

AT END OF 1980S WE MOVED FURTHER NORTH TO DOWNSCALE AGAIN AND CONTINUED IN THE SAME LIFESTYLE.  OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS OUR SONS GRADUALLY TRICKLED UP TO JOIN US.

THEN TRAGEDY REALLY STRUCK.  IN 2001 MY HUSBAND DIED AFTER A 5 MONTH ILLNESS.

I KEPT BUSY WITH TUTORING, TRAVEL AND TENNIS.  THEN ONE DAY WHEN I HEARD THAT ONE OF THE PROTAGONISTS IN ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA’  WAS TERMINALLY ILL, I BROUGHT THE TYPED MANUSCRIPT OUT OF THE  DRAWER AND TRANSCRIBED EACH CHAPTER TO THE COMPUTER AND EMAILED THEM TO MY ENGLISH GIRLFRIEND FOR HER TO READ BEFORE SHE DIED.

AROUND THIS TIME, THE WRITER MILDRED KALISH VISITED OUR LOCAL LIBRARY TO TALK ABOUT HER MEMOIR ‘LITTLE HEATHENS’ ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE DEPRESSION YEARS.

I CONTACTED HER PUBLISHER AT RANDOM HOUSE WHO REPLIED THAT SHE DEALT ONLY WITH NON-FICTION. SINCE MY BOOKS WERE CONSIDERED AUTO-FICTION WITH THE ALTERED NAMES, I CHANGED THEM ALL BACK TO THE ORIGINAL AND SUBMITTED ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

ALAS!  SHE WANTED THE ENTIRE STORY REWRITTEN AS UNIFIED LINEAR NARRATIVE-A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND AN END, WHICH MY MEMOIR WAS NOT.  A FORBIDDING TASK INDEED! THANK YOU, BUT NO.  SO BACK TO THE DRAWER!

THE END?

A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER MY YOUNGEST SON & DAUGHTER IN LAW NEEDED A BOOK TO READ ON A CAR JOURNEY.  THIS TIME I PULLED FROM THE DRAWER THE TYPEWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT OF ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

ON THEIR RETURN, MY DAUGHTER IN LAW DECLARED “YOU MUST DO SOMETHING WITH THIS MARVELLOUS STORY.”  I WAS FLATTERED AND PLEASED AND AS  QUOTED TWO YEARS LATER IN ANOTHER NEWSPAPER ARTICLE-“WHICH I IGNORED UNTIL OUR OLDEST SON WAS DIAGNOSED WITH TERMINAL CANCER.  I WAS CARING FOR HIM IN MY HOME AND WANTED HIM TO KNOW HIS FAMILY HISTORY.  I TRANSFERRED THE TYPED PAGES INTO MY COMPUTER AND EMAILED EACH CHAPTER TO HIM SO HE COULD READ THE STORY IN HIS ROOM, A LITTLE EACH DAY.  IT WAS GRATIFYING TO SEE HOW MUCH HE ENJOYED THEM.”

 HE DIED OF NECK CANCER AT AGE 49 END OF JAN.2010.

TIME FOR BUSYNESS AGAIN TO KEEP GRIEF AT BAY. 

I HAD 25 COPIES OF ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ PRINTED UP AND SENT TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN ENGLAND, GERMANY AND AUSTRALIA. 

FROM FRIENDS AND WORD OF MOUTH AND STRANGERS WHO READ THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND IN LOCAL BOOK STORES, I BEGAN TO SELL MY BOOKS.

A YEAR LATER  WITH ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA –ENGLISH STYLE-‘ ALREADY ON THE COMPUTER, I PUBLISHED IT ON AMAZON/CREATESPACE AND IN BOOKSTORES ALONG WITH ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

THE LAST CHAPTER OF THIS SAGA?  WHO KNOWS?

BUT WHENEVER I START TRANSCRIBING THE THIRD BOOK TO COMPUTER, I DOUBT I’LL EVEN CONSIDER EMAILING THE CHAPTERS TO ANYONE.   IF IT’S  TRUE THAT EVERYTHING COMES IN THREES,  THE RISK COULD BE TOO GREAT FOR THE RECIPIENT!
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT JILL PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE AT http://home.earthlink.net/~schaefer234 


Purchase UP THE WOODEN HILL on Amazon


Purchase COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA--ENGLISH STYLE on Amazon


1 comment:

Amber Lea Easton said...

Jill, you're an inspiration! I'm thrilled that you stopped by my blog to share your story with us. I'm truly honored. How lucky am I to have made your acquaintance? Very. Thank you.