I’m due to retire soon. Except I’ll not really be retiring. I’ll be undergoing another career change. At last, I shall become a full time writer. I’ll spend about a month getting into my new writing routine. Then, I want to make a big journey by train.
I’ll leave the house here in north Manchester and take the Metrolink to Piccadilly, then on to London, then perhaps Lille or Paris. Thereafter, I’ll be tracing Clara Lehrs and using a senior Europass.
Mecklenburg, where she was born
Berlin, where she lived most of her married life
Jena, where she worked at the Lauenstein institute
Stuttgart and naturally the house on Schellberg Street
Rexingen where she lived in the ghetto
Then, I’d like to add on some of Renate’s journey:
Nuremberg to London
London to Minehead
The latter two chunks will be part of the return journey
I’ll travel in considerable luxury compared with what Clara and even Renate faced. However, it’s the wheels rolling under the carriage all of the time here that’s important.
I imagine I’m going to be away for about three weeks. I’ll stay in each place as long I need to. Again, I’ll probably be living better than Clara did although in both Mecklenburg and Berlin she was quite well off, and certainly not poor in the years in in Jena and Stuttgart. I’ll use middle of the range hotels but am also open to staying with people who offer to put me up.
The non-fiction project
As I travel, I’ll update the blog daily. I’ll also keep a private journal as well as making copious notes. I intend to write a short book also about this journey and the project. This will include some discussion of the challenges of this sort of research and the writing of this sort of biography. This will also create more content for the web site.
The wider project
The Holocaust generation is dying out. So it’s important to go back to the primary resources and to recreate what might have happened with the imagination as these stories do. I’m already offering school visits based on this material and I’m intending to work that up over the next few years, even producing packs that others can use.
Currently, I’m offering visits for a donation that the schools can afford plus travel. I’d like to have some funding in place so that this can carry on.
Funding this project
I’m partly funding my journey myself but I also want to start setting up my fund for the wider project.
I’m going to set up a crowd-funding project as soon as I’ve a more concrete date. You can register an interest now just by contacting me via this web site. Fill in the contact form. You can also make a small donation. Again, there is a button.
Eventually I’ll offer to crowd-funders depending on level of donation:
- VIP invite to the launch of one of the books
- Name as sponsor on web-site
- Tailor-made talk
- Signed copy of one the books / all of the books
You might consider arranging a talk. I could be anything form a simple gathering in your house to hiring a local venue and filing it with people. I’d then give the talk for free but accept donations on the day and perhaps sell some books.
This might be particularly interesting if it happens as I complete the journey.
If you’re on my route, you could offer me accommodation.
Simply tell everyone who might be interested. School visits I’ll do just for expenses plus a donation and / or a chance to sell books. I’m also happy to offer school visits at my normal fee of £350 per day plus expenses for those who like to keep things simple.