Writing a memoir – ‘The Girl In The Sea’.

A book about finding your feet, motherhood, adventure and of course, the sea.

The Girl In The Sea’ is a story which weaves together the experience of relocating to the coast and rebuilding a life and an identity after emerging from the bewildering baby years. The sea is consistent throughout, delivering clarification and consolation, as well as a myriad of influential and exciting people. It’s an exploration of beautiful coastal locations, a recollection of an exotic childhood in warmer oceans and a brutally honest narrative about mental health. It’s moving but uplifting. Gritty but inspiring.

Charlotte Broster, January 2022

When I was eight years old, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A photographer and an author,” I wrote down. 30 years later, and I find myself with the opportunity to be both of these things.

I started writing in November 2020 when lockdown #2 scuppered me earning an income from my photography. For a month, whilst the children were at school, I dived in and submerged myself in writing – and loved it. True fiction, I called it. A blend of real experiences and rivetting embellishments. The tale swelled and swerved and became stronger.

Here are some tantalising teasers for you:

No matter how hard I tried convincing people on social media, as well as myself, things weren’t getting easier. 

As I opened my laptop and blinked into the chasm of my uneventful inbox, I felt a vivid pain. Wrench in my throat. Throb in my heart. Hunger rumbled within my stomach. Picking up the spoon, I gingerly prodded the bowl of soggy Weetabix. The sight of the brown mush made my throat strain and mouth sour. Hastily pushing the bowl to one side, I instead picked up the mug and choked back a few mouthfuls of warm, milky liquid. I knew what I had to do. I had to reach out to her. I couldn’t go on like this. 

“Dear Nina”, I typed in an email.

She was a therapist. Based in Canterbury. Her specialist areas were loneliness, grief and loss – sentiments I was experiencing and finding agonising.

“I’ve just completed a major relocation with my family,” I wrote, “and it has dislodged some unsettling feelings which have been present for a few years.”

The sentence decorated the white screen rather feebly. As I stared at it, I felt a fierce compression across my chest, as though a serpent had coiled and constricted around me. 

“I’m approaching 40,” I continued, “and struggling with low self-worth, unrealistic expectations, regret and resentment.”

That’s when I heaved out a sob. A waterfall of anguish cascaded from my eyes, rolled down my cheeks and splodged onto my blue jeans. Something was missing from my message. 

Urgency.

“It is imperative that I address these feelings now,” I concluded, “so they’re not lurking in five, ten, twenty years time.”

Imperative, meaning absolutely necessary. Critical. A step up from being important. The word conveyed the seriousness of my situation and, I hoped, a hint of desperation.

And then I pressed send.