As I am nearing the end of the book, I have begun to think a lot about what exactly it is I am doing. Why have I chosen to tell this story? Or did it choose me?
Five years ago, before I even began this story, I made this illustration in a workshop.
Something about it struck me. Something about the simplicity of the lines paired with the words managed to capture the essence of my Nani, whose larger than life personality had always overwhelmed me. Was this the beginning of it all?
Did I begin to unveil my desire to capture that essence at that moment?
Years of research followed.
I sketched and wrote.
I collected fragments of information, I interviewed tons of family members, and spent my days following Nani around, filming her, recording her voice. And now, while at the final stages of the book, I begin to ask myself:
How did the narration structure itself so intuitively?
How did I decide what to include and what to leave out?
How have anecdotes, references and moments that are not explicitly written about managed to make themselves a way into the book, through symbols or through little details?
But most of all, I have been thinking a lot about memory.
About my memory. Remembering is magic.
Every time I remember I see or learn something new:
something that was perhaps there, or something I needed to add to
understand the story better.
I chose to remember my childhood this way...in a collection of facts mixed together with fantasy, humor and a lot of poetic license.
Some of the facts aren't quite exact. Some of the memories actually happened sooner or later but were switched around
to make the story read and flow more naturally.
This is not to say that I have been clumsy. To the best of my efforts, I have tried to be as precise as possible.
I have tried above all to stay true to the essence of who I am, of the story I want to tell. It's a simple story really:
that of a grandmother who through her sweets, her stories, her magic, her travels manages to weave together a family strewn across the world with a link of love and celebration.
Such things need to be remembered.