• Lizbeth Meredith
  • [SWP: Behind the Book] So I Had a Hard Life. Who Cares? The Process of Rediscovering Why I Wrote My...
[SWP: Behind the Book] So I Had a Hard Life. Who Cares? The Process of Rediscovering Why I Wrote My Memoir
Written by
Lizbeth Meredith
October 2016
Written by
Lizbeth Meredith
October 2016

What was I thinking?

Months after I committed to publishing my memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, I was writhing in self-consciousness, wondering why I felt the need to do it. I obsessed about it when I woke up in the morning. I pondered it during breaks at work as a juvenile probation officer. And I questioned it during my increasingly sleepless nights. What was I thinking?

Everyone has an important story. What made me think that I was so special I needed to share mine in print?

Years had passed since my story had been spotlighted in local news. Who would want to read about the worst times in my life, much of which happened twenty years ago?

I worried how it would impact others. I feared risking the safety of myself and my daughters by infuriating their father after telling this story of abuse. And I didn’t want to hurt my mother who was already estranged from all of her children.

Publishing my story seemed so self-indulgent.

This was especially true when I was working on enhancements of the manuscript to add color and flavor and texture. What exactly was I feeling in 1994 when my daughters had been kidnapped? What were the smells in Greece I needed to remember to add dimension while describing my time there? What were the emotions I had felt as my girls and I escaped Greece through Turkey by boat? As I revised, I wondered, Who cares? I worked with juvenile delinquents every day whose own lives made mine look like a cakewalk. Then one night while pouring through edits, I got a Facebook notification: friends of a friend were killed in Brussels during a terrorist attack. The world was falling apart, and I was navel-gazing about the details of my life’s story, sweating the fact that it won’t be good enough for others to want to read.

Several weeks later I got a message through my author website from a young woman who was reaching out to offer new domestic violence resources for my readers.

I was sure she was a spammer. My book was months from publication and I hadn’t begun to market it. But after a few emails, I confirmed that this young woman was a college student in Florida whose friend read a guidebook I wrote about helping a loved one in an abusive relationship. The guidebook had referenced that I would be publishing my memoir and, with the help of Google, she found me.

I couldn’t believe it! I confided in her that I’d been flooded with self-doubt and anxiety—just what every prospective reader wants to hear from the author.I revealed to this woman, much younger than my now-grown daughters, how I was second guessing my decision to publish.

“Don’t doubt what you’re doing, Lizbeth, because what you’re doing is great!” she affirmed. “Even if your story helps only one person, I would think it would be worth it, ya know?”

And I knew. Her words reminded me of exactly what I was thinking when I decided to publish my memoir.

 I was thinking that so many people are impacted by domestic violence around the world but don’t understand the underlying dynamics. I was convinced that parents don’t realize the long-term devastation of taking children from the other parent and disappearing with them, often as an extension of intimate partner violence. I was moved by the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study that demonstrates how too many toxic stresses on children can cause them physical and mental health problems later in life. I was reminded that I wanted to educate friends, siblings, coworkers, and community members wanting to help those impacted by any of these issues. I was motivated to write because these conversations can inspire change for future generations. That’s what I was thinking.

After her emails, I was emboldened. I reached out to plan my book launch to agencies I knew could help make a difference. Soon I was joined by the local YWCA, a battered women’s shelter where I once worked, three more victim-serving non-profits, and The Pre-Law Society, a student group at the local university. Together, we will be promoting conversations about domestic violence and raising funds together to impact change.

Now I can say with absolute clarity now what I was thinking when I decided to publish my memoir.

So who cares?

It turns out, a lot of people. Including me.


Lizbeth Meredith's debut memoir Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters was launched on October 5, 2016 at the University of Alaska, Anchorage during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to a packed room of caring community members, including her now-grown daughters.






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  • Lizbeth Meredith

    Ohh! Thank you Betty! I gifted your book to me in paperback over the holidays and its next in the queue. I know I will love it by the description.

    Thank you for commenting!

  • Betty Hafner

    Brava, Lizabeth! Your perspective as a victim and as a professional working in the field will mean so much to readers. Because of the similar theme in our stories, it's been on my To Read list, but I just put it on my Kindle and cannot wait to read it!

  • Lizbeth Meredith

    Thank you, Michelle!

  • Michelle Cox

    Love this article, Lizbeth!  Good for you for persevering!  

  • Lizbeth Meredith

    Thank you, Roni!  We do need to follow our hearts and reach for the confidence to do so at times. I knew that at some point, but lost sight of that during the process along the way.

  • Roni Beth Tower

    Lizbeth, I applaud your courage.  Sometimes we need to follow our hearts even when the reasons are not revealed for a very long time.  And you write beautifully!

  • Lizbeth Meredith

    Thank you, Laurel. It is amazing that sometimes the random happens just as we need them.

  • Laurel Davis Huber

    Wonderful story, Lizbeth. Isn't it amazing how such random things can have such a big influence in our lives? Clearly, you were meant to write this book. Congratulations!