For over 3 years, I’ve been writing a collective memoir exploring Armenianness since the genocide of 1915. It’s an international story, since as many as 8 million Armenians are spread across the globe. Only 3 million live in Armenia.
A year ago, I was in Armenia, just starting to figure out how I could spend two months researching there without actually speaking Armenian.
I had concerns the trip wouldn’t go well, that I’d have little good to say about Armenia. In fact it was the opposite – I have far too much I want to share. I loved travelling in Armenia and met many others who felt the same. I understand why it’s popping up on so many top-ten travel destination lists.
Interviews: 130 people in Canada, Australia and Armenia, representing 12 nationalities (I’m still doing interviews in Australia to refine my understanding, fill in missing pieces. I even had the opportunity to interview Stepan Kerkyasharian, chairman of NSW’s Multicultural Commission).
- First draft: 192,000 words, completed May 2013
- Second draft: 157,000 words, completed July 2013
- Third draft: 139,000 words, completed August 2013
I started the book in early 2010. I knew practically nothing about Armenian history or culture, or the genocide. I completed a master’s degree with a thesis on Armenian diasporan cultural identity to increase my understanding. I spoke on the genocide and its denial at various conferences.
The book is a synthesis of everything I’ve learned and experienced. The third draft is finally pulling everything together in a cohesive, coherent way. It’s the fourth draft that I plan to send out into the world. Wish me luck – I’m sure I’ll need some.