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Plagiarizing My Life: A Memoir (Revised Query)

Non-Fiction Family Saga Offbeat/Quirky

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#1 R.A. Schneider

R.A. Schneider

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    “Terminal Spring Hopes” Sea Kayaker magazine; page 8-11; February 2003

Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:26 PM

See Post #2 for Query needing critique.



#2 R.A. Schneider

R.A. Schneider

    New Member

  • Members
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  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:“Communing With Prince”; Yellow Chair Review; A Prince Tribute edition; 2016
    “Terminal Spring Hopes” Sea Kayaker magazine; page 8-11; February 2003

Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:42 PM

<Insert appropriate Agency Greeting here > ,for your consideration, PLAGIARIZING MY LIFE: A Memoir, complete at 65,000 words.

 

When my estranged, manic/depressive father reappears in my life -- more mentally ill than I ever experienced or had been told – old fears of genetic fallout are resurrected, and stigma threatens to undo my best laid plans: escaping rural Nevada poverty, never having to face or deal with my past again.

 

An emergency call from Dad’s ex-prostitute/ex-heroin-addict second wife, reporting his forcible commitment to the Nevada Mental Hospital, started the landslide.  Will his fate befall me? My young family? But aftershocks dislodge more -- identity muddling secrets.  Mom knew the severity, but never told us.  Dad’s surreal, hallucinatory revelations -- delivered from within the sanitarium walls – have me questioning exactly what I know of his childhood in Nazi Germany.  Bible quotes? References to Elie Wiesel and “understanding the Jews”? Dad wasn’t religious as far as I knew, and he was only 9 when he emigrated to Brooklyn. He couldn’t possibly be implicating himself in the Holocaust. Could he?  Down the rabbit hole of fading memory and family repressions, I embark on a quest, mining my memories and others,' to trace Dad’s path from Berlin to Brooklyn to Bellevue Mental Hospital, to my childhood in Ely, and on to Battle Mountain --  an arc from Olympic caliber athlete and Ivy League educated District Attorney, to down-and-out near-vagrant holding on to his last chance to impress his son: the lawsuit against Billy Joel for plagiarizing the song My Life.  Ever the planner and believer in my own agency, striving to avoid triggering my own mental breakdown, or become my father, I compare my life experiences with Dad’s in the wake of that shocking call:  Alcohol, sex, drugs, religion and the relative impacts of nature, nurture and sheer serendipity.  In the process I discover an array of identity-shattering details and family secrets that slowly ease my fears of becoming my father, while opening my eyes to the neglected impact of my mother, and her attempts to deal with Dad’s illness while working three jobs and raising four kids.   A final revelation – a religio-sexual Rosetta Stone of sorts, delivered by my mother after 15 years of rebuilding the story I thought I knew – upends everything again, forcing me to see every memory in my life, and every event in this book, in new light. Released from fears of becoming my father, disabused of belief in "Truth", and awake to intuition and serendipity, I face the folly: looking backward, at partial or distorted memory, is no way to live or create my future.

 

Those who enjoyed Bernard Cooper’s The Bill From My Father, and Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle should enjoy this tri-generational odyssey through memory, belief and life’s unexpected gifts.

 

This is R.A. Schneider’s first foray into book-length material.  He has published essays in national magazines and literary journals.  He holds a graduate Film School MA degree from Northwestern University, and is an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award winning documentarian.

Thank you <insert Agent Name> for your time and consideration.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Non-Fiction, Family Saga, Offbeat/Quirky

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