Telling The Story Of Beauty & Life
My name is Sara Rena Vidal and for 25 years my passion has been to tell the story of Beauty and Life. Beauty is the meaning of my mother’s name Bella, Life is the meaning of my father’s name Chaim. I’ve finally done it and the book BELLA AND CHAIM: THE STORY OF BEAUTY AND LIFE is being edited and prepared for publishing. Now to make it happen I need to raise my share of the costs. This is where you come in. In return for your pledges, if I am successful in achieving my goal, you will receive a reward according to what you have selected..
Why is this book important?
This story is more than a powerful story of love, hate, endurance; it is a testament to the human spirit and embraces the light and dark of being human. As such, this individual story is transformative and illuminates the universal.
A bit about me
and the process of telling the story of beauty and life:
I am named for the Polish grandmothers:
I never knew them. Born in a refugee camp in Italy in late 1945, at the age of three I came to Australia with my parents on a ship named The Continental. The ship’s log identifies the more than 300 passengers as British, Greek, Polish, Italian, Swiss, Latvian, French, Albanian, and Stateless. Australia made us welcome and my childhood, abundant with friends and relatives, picnics, fun and ice-cream, was happy. But something was missing.
When I was only six I asked my mother why I didn’t have grandmothers; over time the stories of her lost home and of my parents’ survival of the Holocaust were revealed.
In February 1992, at the age of 46, married with two teenage children, I was a very busy senior Manager in the Health Department Victoria. Factors combined: awareness of Holocaust denial, passing of the survivor generation, bouts of debilitating illness that made me fear that my time was also running out; suddenly telling my parent’s story became an urgent passion.
I began to keep a journal, I wrote absolutely everything I remembered up to my first day at university and called this The Making of Plans. As I still worked full-time, I wrote into the early hours of Saturday and Sunday. And I set down what I knew of my parent’s story.
This photo, taken on Sunday 9 August 1992. (Clockwise from top left: my sister Janette, me, my mother Bella (known as Basia or Barbara) and my father Chaim (known Heniek or Henry), captures us celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. My gift to them was the first twelve-page draft of their story and a somewhat longer ‘Making of Plans’. This jubilee also marks the fiftieth anniversary of immeasurable loss: the last night in the Warsaw Ghetto that my parents (then aged just nineteen and twenty) were together with their families.
My parents, bemused with my gift, eventually let me know ‘you have got everything wrong’. This marks the beginning of a process seemingly without end: hours of revealing discussions: with them, with my sister, with nieces and cousins, the discovery of encyclopedias and books I’d never dreamt existed, and unquantifiable hours on the computer.
In 1996 life intruded; the manuscript was put in a box, and the many small computer files saved to floppy discs. It was years later that, inspired by art therapy, I learnt to embrace the light and dark of my being, and in mid 2009 – thirteen years since I put it all away, I opened the box, joined a writing class, and pieced together the computer files. In 2012 another writing course. In 2014 aged 69, I retired; writing almost every day especially from 11p.m. to 2a.m., my manuscript reached completion. In late 2016 what I hoped for happened – it was accepted by the wonderful encouraging and supportive Anna Rosner Blay and Louis de Vries at Hybrid Publishers.
During these 25 years, momentous life-events happened. My children grew up and left home; both my father and my husband, after years of illness, died within months of each other. I returned to university in 2000 to study critical theory and history subjects, then began a new life of work and adventures. My son and daughter both got married; I am now blessed with four grandchildren. And now, in 2017 my mother, aged 93, has eleven great-grandchildren ranging in age from three to nineteen.
Back to the book:
The journey of writing the book has brought many wonderful people and moments of illumination into my life.
For stretches of time progressing it was my reason to get up in the morning.
WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?
HERE IS A BLURB:
BELLA AND CHAIM. THE STORY OF BEAUTY AND LIFE.
Bella and Chaim, are the author’s parents. Known as Basia and Heniek, for eighteen months from late 1943, they lay in a small hole in the ground under a sawing machine in the home of a retired Polish policeman in a suburb of occupied Warsaw. In claustrophobic dark, they waited while outside a world war raged. Their inspirational story begins with life in Warsaw in loving families, transcends the catastrophic circumstances in which they meet, fall in love, are witness to the destruction of a way-of-life and murder of their families, and endure entombment; it concludes with rescue, liberation, and immigration to make a new life. This testament to the human spirit embraces their memories and mingles them with fragments of the 1950s, the author’s real-time journal entries, the historical record, and musings on the light, dark, and potential, of being alive.
Again, why is this story important?
The things that happened are unbelievable yet these things did happen; these things continue to happen. People are labelled as vermin and this is used as the excuse to be rid of them. The story is about the danger of making sweeping generalisations and the failure of reason, truth, and civil society. And then about a kind of success. And gratitude. Gratitude for life.
This is the cover!
After 25 years memory and history have come together; with your help – Bella and Chaim: The Story of Beauty and Life, will be available in September this year. My publisher says it is a powerful story and compelling read. And, if you pledge, a copy will be delivered to your door during October. That is the Plan!!
How The Funds Will Be Used
Here are how I will use the money raised.
- Subvention towards the production of the first print run (my share) $ 8,000
- Crowd funding and credit card costs 7% $ 560
- Promotional material, gifts, and
- Book Launch Party (you are invited!) $ 460
- GRANDTOTAL $ 9,000
$9,000 IS MY CAMPAIGN TARGET
I HAVE 300 PLUS BOOKS AT $30 EACH (plus postage)
I AM LOOKING FORWARD
TO SENDING A BOOK
I am a new and unknown author so getting recognised is a challenge and that is where I need your help to read, enjoy and promote my book so it can find its place. For this campaign books will be sent by Australia Post within Australia. As international postage for those of you overseas is high – I suggest that if you’d like a book please add you email address to the contacts section or email me directly at [email protected] or connect with me via on facebook, and I will let you know when the e-book and international version are available later this year.