I no longer trust chronological auto/biographies. That's the conclusion I've reached through years of trying, and flailing around in, the writing of 'Joan's Book', or my Mum's story. I've just started on it anew, with the help of a mentor, who has emphasised - for a long time - that creative writing has to come from the right-side of the brain if it's to reach the right-side of the readers brains. Write right! It is hard, though. Of course it's bloody hard. Writing creatively is. (Those last two sentences were from my right side, I know.) I spend my working life writing left - corporate, measured, chronological. Writing from the left is the what. Writing from the right is the how. And whilst I still find writing from the right difficult, I speak from the right effortlessly. I have a powerful and emotive voice. The task, then, yes, we know. So I've started it again - I've had a fallow period since handing in my phd - actually it goes back further, as much of the last six months of that were editing. For the past couple of months, I know this with hindsight (or am I projecting a nice narrative explanation onto random thoughts), I've been riffing on possible openings. 'She had a thing for horror films'. 'She saw nuns flying around the lampshade'. 'The hospital consultant said that she'd had the worst history he'd read'. And on. I'm writing it in fragments. Remembering is fragmented; like a jigsaw that won't fit together, or if it does it's higgledy piggledy. How can anyone say higgledy piggledy is a cliche? If it is, it surely can't count. So I've made a start. My fear is that it will send me a bit doo-lally; entrap me in the marshes of her long-dead horror. She died in 2008. A long, slow hunger. Do I feel I owe her this, her story as I saw it, see it? Maybe. I feel compelled to - not just because it will give her life a 'voice', but because it is a compelling story. I would like it to be a bit of social history, too, but I can't put markers in place this early - I just have to let the jigsaw pieces tumble out.