Author Interview: Barbara Studham: Two Decades of Diapers
When did you first start writing?
Some people take a vacation when stressed. Others visit a spa. Everyone has their own way of escaping life’s challenges. From a very young age, mine was to write.
Up until you wrote your memoir, I believe you primarily wrote fiction. What prompted the change?
Fiction offered me control over others, albeit fictional, but they are my circle of friends and enemies. Like a puppeteer, I can make them laugh, cry, love, and murder without repercussion. But a time came for me to face the truth. Memoir allowed me to do that.
Is writing memoir harder or easier than writing fiction? Please explain.
When I first began writing my memoir, due to its serious nature, I found it more difficult than writing fiction. But, the more I wrote, the more I sensed the pain of my past diminishing. Its therapeutic nature eventually allowed me to enjoy writing the truth.
What is your first memoir about and did it end up as you intended when you started?
My memoir: Two Decades of Diapers describes my twenty years raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Initially, I began with just that in mind, but as my memoir would not have been written without my facing the pain of my childhood, and my teenage daughter’s pregnancy, I have included a description of those times in my memoir.
What is the primary reason you wrote this memoir and what did you hope to achieve by writing it?
I registered in Viga Boland’s Memoir Writing program at my local library to get tips to improve my blog www.challengedhope.com which describes the challenges I face while raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. After the third session, I became interested in writing a memoir about those years as I believed it would support other caregivers raising mentally disabled children. I also hope to raise community awareness of the disorder by speaking to the public on the topic and promoting my book.
What was the hardest part of writing this memoir?
Mostly, it was facing the pain of my past. It was difficult to relive the cruel actions of people who professed to love me.
How many words, or how many hours do you write in a typical day?
I would say at least three hours per day. My best time is when my grandchildren are in school and all is quiet.
What is your method of writing i.e. do you just let it flow or edit as you go?
Initially, I just let it flow, but I generally don’t go past five chapters before editing.
Do you find it hard to edit? Why or why not?
The rules of writing are the most difficult for me as writing to standards hampers my creativity. I enjoy editing the actual story as I always find ways to improve it.
I am now writing a memoir of my five years involved in domestic violence. I also have two fiction manuscripts completed and am working on two more.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Barbara Studham. Get an idea of Barbara’s evocative writing in ISSUE #1 of MEMOIRABILIA