Did you know I am writing my story ……….. again?

If you are on any of my Facebook pages (ABBI & ALOU) then you would most likely know. I even went to Bali on a writing retreat for two weeks over Christmas/New Year to make some serious progress. And I did. But it ain’t finished.

I thought that in many ways the third edition would just be an update but it’s proving to be much, much more. Just like a new book actually that will have a new title.

I have a fantastic editor in the US who is helping (read stretching and challenging me) to go deeper than before. This is always a challenge. As a writer you have to go back to the moments, feel the pain, get that out and communicate it effectively on the page for the reader. I remember the last time I had to do this I ended up in bed for three days recovering from emotional exhaustion.

Autobiography timeline:

  • 2004 A Life of Unlearning – coming out of the church one man’s struggle. Covering years 1951 – 2000 (320 pages)
  • 2007 A Life of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth. Covering years 1951 – 2005 (400 pages)
  • 2013  (a great new title but can’t reveal that yet). Covering years 1951 – 2013 (?????? pages).

What’s the new book about?

In addition to going back over the journey of life, refecting as well on the events of the last 9 years has been interesting. Much has happened. Also there were behind the scenes things that I could not previously talk about but now I can reveal. I’m excited about the impact my complete story will have as the other editions have. Even saved lives. Who knows? This edition might be the one that becomes a film. Read about that here. Why I chucked out my dream board. Once I have finished writing Chapter 24 and the epilogue I will have to do at least one more draft….possibly two.

The new edition will be available on all platforms eg hard copy, Kindle, iBooks etc. I will also be re-releasing the 2004 edition as a succinct coming out story. YOU can be the first to be notified by being on my newsletter list.

In the meantime here is a little snippet of Chapter 6 In The Army Now that will give you some idea of the development when you contrast the two passages. Hopefully you can spot the difference. Let me know what you think info@gayambassador.com

From previous edition ‘A LIfe of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth’

I was having my evening meal with three hundred soldiers in the dining hall but was sitting away from my platoon. Every time I sat with the guys from my platoon they made sure I wasn’t included in the conversation, making me feel more like an outsider. If I sat with a stranger, though, we might start a conversation about the activities of the day or, better still, I might get an opportunity to tell them about the difference Jesus Christ had made in my life. Looking down at the sloppy stew mixing with the watery mashed potatoes and peas that had turned yellow from being boiled too long, I began to lose focus. My eyes filled with water. I slowly moved the slop around the plate with my fork and tried to gain my composure but tears began to fall into the plate adding to the watery mess. It was impossible to hold them back. The guys around me looked bewildered as I quickly grabbed my plate and utensils and ran from the mess hall. I moved as fast as possible trying to contain the emotions that were erupting in me, but where could I go? Not back to the barracks where others could see me in this state.

Same segment – first draft of new book

The dining hall, with several hundred men, was a cacophony of loud male voices, hard army boots on a wooden floor and the constant clang of cutlery, plates and pots. I was sitting away from my platoon for a reason. If I sat with the guys from my platoon it reinforced my feeling of being an outsider as I was rarely included in conversations. What did I have to offer to the conversation anyway? It was usually about women, sex and filthy jokes. I knew nothing about the first two topics and as a Christian could not find ‘those’ jokes amusing. If I sat with a stranger however, we might have a conversation about the activities of the day or, better still, I might get to talk to them about Jesus Christ. Or, miracle of miracles, meet another Christian brother to fellowship with.

The loss of appetite was not because of the sloppy stew, watery mashed potatoes and over boiled yellow peas in front of me. I languidly shifted the slop with my fork from one side of  the plate to the other and rested my head on my hand in an effort to hide from the mass of masculinity surrounding me. The meal disappeared as my eyes filled and tears began to drop into the watery mess on my plate. A projectile vomit of suppressed emotions was about to spew forth. The guys sitting around me looked bewildered as I suddenly grabbed my plate and utensils. Running through the narrow passage between the tables I didn’t stop to apologise to the men I bumped on the way but I heard their curses behind me. I needed somewhere to release the erupting emotions, but where could I go? Not back to the barracks and be humiliated by my weakness. Real men don’t cry; especially in the tough and rugged army.

Maybe I was teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown? If I let go, I could plummet.


© Anthony Venn-Brown