Exclusive Blog Piece - Anita Heiss on Writing the Memoir

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Many people have commented to me about writing a memoir at such a young age (yes, 43 years is still considered young!). In my case, the story of my identity was not something that was going to change as I got older, but the need for it to be told had proved more necessary in recent years.
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    On Writing The Memoir byAnita Heisson 27 March 2012 Many people have commented to me about writing a memoir at sucha young age (yes, 43 years is still considered  young! ). In my case, thestory of my identity was not something that was going to change as Igot older, but the need for it to be told had proved more necessary inrecent years.I had specific reasons for penning this book. I wanted to demonstratethat we as Absrcinal people have our own forms of self-identification and self-representation. And just like my adult novelsof recent years (NOT MEETING MR RIGHT  , AVOIDING MRRIGHT  , MANHATTAN DREAMINGandPARISDREAMING),AM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?is a statement that regardless of where we live we are strong in our identity, and itis one of the few things that can never be taken from us – likegovernments took away our children, our rights land, and most recently the rights to manage our ownincomes in the Northern Territory.My own story as told in this memoir challenges the stereotypes often perpetuated through media andembraced by Australians more generally, and in placeAM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?offersalternative realities of being Absrcinal today – in all it’s positive, successful, loving glory.  Some may feel that the titleAM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?is a provocation, but the work isactually designed as a tool to make the reader think, engage and come to better understand Australia’sFirst Peoples from a different perspective to most of those offered in the mainstream.Writing my memoir on Absrcinal identity has been a significant and challenging personal process, butas someone who sees the need for resources in the classroom I also felt a responsibility to provideanswers to inquiring minds.I am a writer, and so my life is about words and the impact they have on individuals, communities andwhole societies. I know only too well the power of language and role of books in educating, informingand bringing different communities together, just as the power of the word in any medium – the press,book, poem, play or song – can be someone’s salvation or nemesis.I hope that by unraveling my own forty-plus years of life as an Absrcinal person that the generalAustralian reading public and students in our schools and colleges come to appreciate without criticismor concern, the diversity and complexity of Absrcinal identity in the twenty-first century, and that thepower of self-identity and representation is a right, as Australians, that we should all enjoy.Read more about Anita Heiss > Read more about AM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU? > 
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