Margaret Holland says that keeping a journal was first an assignment, but over time, it took on a larger purpose as she began to understand herself and her experiences more clearly. She determined a book, based on her journals, would help others who might also be suffering.Excerpt, The Brotherhood of Silence hardcover dust jacket
From the start, I undertook editing The Brotherhood of Silence to help Margaret fulfill her dream. At her age, she couldn’t do it on her own. Even though she is nearly 82 now, her desire remains the same: to help others who are suffering in order to encourage them.
From journal to memoir
Without having done anything like this before, I had no idea how to proceed. I couldn’t envision how to condense hundreds of pages of Margaret’s 29 journals into a readable form, or the countless hours it would take to type, edit, and transition the key entries. If I managed to produce a manuscript, how could I ever navigate the publishing morass? The whole project overwhelmed me. I asked for God’s wisdom and skill. One day at a time swam into my mind.
I knew that it was imperative to preserve Margaret’s voice so that the reader could “walk with her” through enormous challenges and emerge changed. After reading the full story, I knew it was a winner and told her so. Her delight put fuel in my tank, so I began typing, creating the format as I went. Although I could never see very far ahead, the creative process kept me engaged.
Although my eyes became red and strained after about three hours darting from her typed page to the computer screen and back, I reminded myself of Margaret at her typewriter for years, pouring out her heart and soul, trying to make sense of what was happening to her.
Bringing it together
“Writing down the details of my daily life, getting everything out onto paper with a helpful purpose in mind and then re-reading them helped me recognize how much I had overcome.” She later wrote, “Thank God for my journals and the book that will come out of them. I don’t know what I would have done without this project. . . . Getting all of my feelings out and dealing with them in writing has been priceless therapy.”
After the 3rd draft, I committed our project to Lulu. I wrote to several authors who gave the company rave reviews. After editorial reviews, subsequent rewrites, and twelve revisions, we finally submitted the book for printing, eagerly anticipating the day when Margaret would hold a copy in her hands. And we weren’t disappointed! Without the help of my assistant editor, copy editors and Lulu’s skilled individuals, I’d still be revising.
Delana Reese has been a freelance writer/editor for thirty-five years. She is particularly drawn to before-and-after stories by women who have overcome adversity and who wish to share their stories as a means to encourage others.