On occasion I facilitate workshops in Life Writing. This type of story telling is manageable even for the novice. It can take the form of a letter to a friend, relate an event from the past or it could even be a eulogy. Usually those who sign up for the course are not experienced; we work together to find their voice, and to outline the tale they want to tell.
However! Life hands you a surprise sometimes… Three years ago, my group included a trio with stories in their heads that they yearned to turn into books. Deanna Lagroix, Allison Morrill and Edmund Arndt all had set ideas , and all of them were ambitious. Especially Ed’s
When he told me about his challenge, I suggested it might be wise to start with something more “manageable” – his story covered five generations, life on two continents, and parts of it were so complex, that even an experienced writer would be hard pressed to convey the sentiment. But Ed would not be swayed, and in fact he had already written 60 pages!
After I had read his work, I was impressed with his passion for his subject, his ability to vividly portray an array of settings and circumstances that I had no experience with.
Ed’s book is called “Dogs On My Heels.” The name comes from a German expression that describes the way one feels when being perused by adversaries. He traces his family’s roots back to 1774 when his ancestral German forefathers settled in Russian Poland. I had never heard of this forgotten ethnic group, or realized the privations they endured.
Ed painstakingly researched his family history in great detail, then set to telling the story with grace, wit and humor. The book reads like an exciting novel and once I had finished it, I felt profound respect for these resilient, determined, yet extremely loveable characters.
On Tuesday February 8th, at the Chicxulub home of Brenda and Lyndon Hastings “Dogs On My Heels” was presented to a group of 40 of the beach community’s residents. Ed’s wife Ursula, Deanna and Brenda graciously prepared the food and drink that added even more enjoyment to the afternoon’s “event of the season”
Deanna Lagroix and Joyce Rynearson spoke of their role as readers of Ed’s early work, and I related my journey with him. We three felt such pride in his fine accomplishment.
“Dogs on My Heels” is available on Amazon at this link: