My autobiography – Part One (1945-1980)

It is time for me to tell you a little about my autobiography. It is entitled:

Autobiographical Shards: Part One (1945-1980)

So, now you know my age!

I have been working on this project for about two years. Anyone familiar with my website will know that I have previously written two academic books and I wrote them while I was working as a psychology lecturer at Sunderland university, in the UK. I was not a professor but, for many years, I held the post of Reader in Social Psychology (that is a somewhat quaint job  title to be found mainly in English universities, I believe).

I am thus not a novice when it comes to writing books, especially academic ones. I have also previously written roughly half a novel, featuring a hero by the name of Harold Hake. Pulishing fiction is an uphill struggle. It is difficult to get hold of a literary agent; it is almost impossible to persuade a major publishing company to commission a book. I never attempted to get HH published.

However, those of you who come to my Second Life shows may remember that I read Harold Hake in about six instalments, roughly four years ago. I read in character, as Fyrm Fouroux, and integrated my reading of the text with some semi-structured improvisation in the form of Fyrm’s comments on what Harold (the main character in the book) was getting up to. I also integrated song into these readings. I found this to be a very exciting thing to do from a creative standpoint.

This, then, was my literary background as I approached my autobiography. I felt certain that my book would not be published in the normal way, since I am not a celebrity. However, software exists on the internet to facilitate self-publishing. Self-publishing used to be called vanity publishing, but I really do think the stigma has been taken out of this activity since the internet has opened up alternative avenues to publication.

With helpful advice from my friend Tom Young, I decided to craft my book using the software from blurb.com. This software has been developed especially to serve the needs of people who wish to publish photo books (for holidays, weddings, family stories, and so on). It is thus ideal for handling images (basically, one just whacks in the jpegs). I therefore decided to go beyond writing a textual manuscript; I was determined to illustrate my autobiography.

Apart from a photograph on the front cover and three small black and white photos within the text, the book is illustrated with about 40 sketches that are my original work, crafted mainly from reference pictures (most of which I took many years ago). Some of my illustrations were created digitally and some used conventional artistic methods such as pencil drawing, pen & India ink, watercolour, and acrylics. I also made some monoprints.

The period I cover in Part One runs from my birth until I am in my mid-thirties. At that point, I met my current long-term partner and subsequently we had a daughter. I have not included this period in my book. In principle, this could form the basis of a second part. However, I have to say that I have no intention writing Part Two at present, and possibly never will do so. I think that it is highly likely that I shall want to look for another creative project in the near future, but this will probably be tied to music, art, or fiction; I am through with autobiography!

I have now placed a link on my website to a page where you can preview the first chapter of Autobiographical Shards and, if you so desire, you can go to the blurb.com pages and order the book. I have to say that both the hard back and soft back versions are rather expensive. Because of the illustrations, I have decided not to produce an electronic or downloadable version at blurb.com.

One final word to my music fans in Second Life – this book is entirely about my First Life and, obviously, the point at which the narrative stops (1980) was many years before the advent of Second Life. It follows from this that I do not feature as Fyrm Fouroux in this autobiography. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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