To the People of My Hometown

As you may recall, seven years and some months ago, I resigned my elected seat on our town’s Board of Selectmen.

What you likely do not know is that just a few weeks after my resignation, a then-sitting board member called to warn me that The Boston Globe would likely be calling for my comment on my resignation. He advised me to say, “No comment.”

The thing is, I had something to say.

So, I sat down the very next day and over the course of fifty-seven consecutive days, I wrote my very first novel when everything was still fresh in my mind. I mean really fresh, like just slaughtered and still warm to the touch.

Unsurprisingly, this debut novel of mine is all about a woman who ran for local office, was elected, and then resigned early. I named her Lara Jenson.

In the fictionalized version of what happened between March 2013 and March 2014, the only details I changed were those that pertained exclusively to me. E.g., Lara Jenson was recently widowed, Lara Jenson had no children, Lara Jenson was working as a public defender while on the Board. Apart from those fictionalized demographic details of the story’s protagonist, GINNED UP is my autobiographical account of what happened, reduced to writing right after it happened.

My manuscript contains scenes that I lived through, thoughts that I had, and feelings that I experienced. GINNED UP is filled with the text of actual communications, specifically emails, between myself and people prominent in local town government at the time.

Seven years ago, with manuscript in hand, I thought about finding a publishing house for my novel. I imagined the day when I’d see it on the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble for anyone to buy. Alternatively, I briefly thought about self-publishing and having anyone (with access to Amazon) being able to read it. But every time I got to thinking about strangers reading it, I felt dissatisfaction.

I really don’t care what strangers think. I care what all of you think.

And I want you to hear this story from me. Not Lara’s story, but rather my memoir.

I’m convinced that these intervening years have provided me with a unique chance to process the events of those many years ago. And now it’s time to put GINNED UP into its proper form: a memoir and not a stripped-down, change-the-names, slightly anesthetized version of what I saw and learned and came to believe about loyalty and betrayal in a small New England town.

So to that end, and without further ado, I invite you to read along as I publish GINNED UP in serial form by subscription on Substack. Once a week, beginning next week, each subscriber will receive an episode that should take between fifteen and twenty minutes to read. Then, subscribers are invited to comment. In the event that subscribers have memories from that time, they’ll be welcome to share them with the community of readers.

This is where you can go to learn more:

https://jennabrownson.substack.com

Below the memoir’s image and the text I wrote for my “About” page at Substack regarding subscribing:

Why Subscribe?

Because you know that truth is stranger than fiction.

Or because you believe that you can learn something about the human condition by reading about the ugly, beautiful, complicated lives of others.

Or because your heart skips a beat when you see “based on true events” at the beginning of a movie. Or because your favorite TV shows are “ripped from the headlines.”

But mostly because you want to be part of something.

GINNED UP promises to be a different kind of reading experience. Not only is the story told in episodes but also GINNED UP is offered as a “community read.” You, the subscriber, will have the unique opportunity to contribute your thoughts and reflections as the story unfolds. And for those of you who can recall your experiences from the time described in my memoir, you are invited to share your memories as we create together the first-ever “community memoir.”

What You Get:

When you subscribe, you become part of an exclusive community of readers and thinkers and will receive 1) weekly installments of GINNED UP, each of which will take between ten and twenty minutes to read, 2) the opportunity to engage in discussions and make comments (and share memories, if you have any) after each installment, and 3) monthly engagement in an AMA (Ask-Me-Anything) format, which will undoubtedly prove interesting for you and me both.

What You May Opt to Give:

I don’t for a moment believe that I know EVERYTHING that contributed to the events that I will share with you. That’s where you come in. Your forensic contributions will help to clarify, enhance, and perhaps refine my understanding of what was happening at the time. My hope is that in telling my story that you will share what you recall by telling me how you “saw it.”

You’ll Be Kept Up-to-Date:

You will never have to worry about missing anything because every new episode of GINNED UP will go directly to your inbox. Our monthly AMA-session invitations will be sent your way as they are scheduled.

Why You should NOT Subscribe:

Do not subscribe if you intend to screenshot or highlight/copy/paste and then share with others.

I own the copyright to everything that I write on this platform. When someone takes it via screenshot or via highlight/copy/paste and shares it with others, this is an infringement of my copyright.

If you’re interested in this story and participating in this community memoir, pay for it.

If you’re not willing to pay for it, please avail yourself of the “FREE” subscription option where you’ll get access to some conversations about the themes that arise during this project.

If you’re not interested in either subscribing or gaining access to the FREE subscription, maybe it’s just better that you sit this one out and tell yourself that you’re not missing out on anything even remotely interesting.

Bear in mind, I’d hate to have you miss out. So, maybe give it a try?

3 thoughts on “To the People of My Hometown

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