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The Memoir Network

Raising My Family Around the World ~ The Adventures of a CIA Wife and Mom

My book, Raising My Family Around the World ~ The Adventures of a CIA Wife and Mom in Stories, Snapshots and Letters, was self-published in the summer of 2015. Two hundred and thirteen pages and two hundred and thirteen photographs make up my hard-bound book. This was actually a surprising coincidence and not planned!

LJoyceBooksSeveral months later, I did a re-print—this time in paperback, a much cheaper alternative than the costly, but beautiful, hard-bound version. I gave the hard-bound copies to family members. I am selling the paperback copies and doing well with this effort.

My intention in writing my story is to tell and preserve my story for my descendants.  I have two adult daughters and three young grand-children at this point. Who wants to be forgotten after they pass away? Not me! I’m not expecting to die any time soon. However, I felt now was as good a time as ever to write my story.

The process

Writing a book about being a CIA wife takes a good bit of time and reflection. Before I started writing the story, I wrote notes to myself about which stories I wanted to be sure to include and then I looked for personal photographs that would enhance the stories. In my case, I had the advantage of five hundred and twenty-three letters to refer to. These were both letters I had written to my grandmother and which she had written to me over a period of thirty-nine years. My memories were triggered by those letters and they were a tremendous help to “remember.”

Then, I started to write.

I was actually excited as I sat at my MAC and began to write my first draft. The words flowed as I recalled story after story. I enjoyed the process immensely and the reminiscing took on an almost therapeutic effect.

I find that, after I write, I like to “put my words to bed” for a while.  I like to re-read text when I have almost forgotten it and then read my words as if I were another person.  This helps me to create a little distance from the creative process. Sometimes I like the way the words sound, but there are other times when I feel the need to do serious editing. I can’t be rushed through this process as it takes time.  In fact, it took me just about two years to put everything down on paper and to get it the way I liked it.

A personal note

I have been a CIA wife to a man who worked for the agency for thirty-two years. We spent many of these years living outside of the USA. I tell my story from the context of being a wife and mother making all those moves — 18 in 21 years. At the expense of the U.S. federal government, I have lived a very nomadic life which was full of adventure. Bill is now retired.

Writing down my stories was a large item to check off of my Bucket List. When I finished this gargantuan project of writing Raising My Family Around the World ~ The Adventures of a CIA Wife and Mom, I felt very pleased and relieved.

The response from my family and friends has been very positive.

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