Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - Q & A with Author Jeanne Simonoff Part I
Thursday, 28 July 2011 15:37

I have been asked many questions after I give readings and in discussing the memoir. I made a list of some of the questions people have presented. I've decided to post answers, both with Jan Marquart, and now here in the blog. Let me know if you have others that have not been answered. The questions and answers are mostly about process. Over the next three postings I will share these with you.

1.  Why did you write this book?

To reform and remember that part of my life pushed down and repressed from fear after the death of my birth mother; to bring my story out from the caves into the light to heal. There is much more, but that is the most succinct answer.

2. Tell us about a few experiences you had in writing this book for the last 13 years.

Writing, for me, is a practice of bearing witness--that my story was real, that it did happen-that it is possible to bring back one’s life and fill in the holes, the gaps, to transform who I was and create a positive life. Each time I formed words on a blank page, I was amazed that the story was calling itself forth, one experience at a time, in random order, not like linear time. Mind tells stories the way each individual remembers them. It is like Gertrude Stein’s poem, “A rose is a rose is a rose,” and each time I wrote, the story changed slightly, became fuller, more complete. Poems became prose. Images sang out in different forms. My dreams were filled with memories where there were none as I dreamed the memoir into the world over time.

3. Is it true Oprah wants you on your show?

Wouldn’t that be something? We will be sending a copy of the book with a packet to the new network. Hopefully people who resonate with the memoir will write to Oprah and ask for the memoir to be on the show. Who knows--anything is possible.

4. How do you think the experiences you had as a child, 50+ years ago, apply today?

Everything changes and everything remains the same. Statistics show that early childhood loss has increased with the wars we are fighting leaving children parentless with war deaths. The media talks about the epidemic we are experiencing with bullying in the schools and the many suicides. The difference is that today they are talking about it. When I was a child the loss of my mother was hidden, not spoken of, not acknowledged. In the 1940’s parents didn’t talk about death with young children in order to spare the child pain, but as a result, silence became something children never get over.

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