Book Brief: A Year on Planet Alzheimer

A Year on Planet Alzheimer
by Carolyn Steele
Genre: Memoir/Travelogue
70,000 words
What happens when a single parent from London, England heads for Canada to care for an elderly lady in case it’s fun?

Described by readers as a cross between Bridget Jones and Bill Bryson, A Year on Planet Alzheimer is almost the story of an adventure. It isn’t quite a travelogue, despite being largely about places. It would be dereliction of duty to omit to pass comment on the remarkable ceiling at Vancouver Bus Station for example or the shattering discovery that they don’t turn Niagara Falls off at night.

Neither is it really a psychological exploration of living with dementia, despite the title. It is almost the story of a child…what happens when you tell a nine-year-old that travel broadens the mind? What does travel do to a nine-year-old mind?

Mainly there is life and the sheer unexpectedness of the way other people live it. Not just the snow dump but the incredulity this odd pair of travellers generated by wanting to see it. It could be the story of an adventure with a few more shimmering sunsets dancing over majestic waves. There are some majestic waves, naturally, but they are more obsessed with meatballs. It is therefore the story of an escapade.

This title is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. Continue reading “Book Brief: A Year on Planet Alzheimer”

Is Truth in Non-Fiction Really Just Perception? by Jen Smith

What is truth? Is truth a fact? I can look at my car and say there are four tires. That is a fact. I can look at my car and say it’s red. That is a fact. Or is it? Another person could look at my car and say that it is burgundy. Is burgundy red? Some would say yes and some would say no. So then, what is the true color of my car?

Truth really is a grey area. Recently I attended a writer’s workshop at Grub Street Boston about breaking the rules in non-fiction and a great discussion formed around this topic. At one point the instructor gave us an example of an author that took the liberty to change the number of heart attacks that happened during a particular time, in a particular state, and also the name of a bar in a journalistic piece. The author’s reasoning was that the number four sounded better than eight and Bucket of Blood, as a bar name, was cooler than the actual name of the bar.

Interestingly there was a student in the class that was fine with the number change but thought changing the name of the bar was outright wrong. I felt the opposite. Changing the name of the bar was fine to me but changing a statistical number was appalling to me. I found our contradicting views fascinating. Neither one of us was right nor wrong, we just had different perspectives based on our experiences with the world. Continue reading “Is Truth in Non-Fiction Really Just Perception? by Jen Smith”