Today in My History

2000:  Surrounded by Brasilians
2001:  Hellos and Goodbyes
(Semi-)Permanent Memorials
Finding My Inner Curmudgeon
Deja Vu All Over Again
Happiness is 2 Warm Puppies
2006: It Couldn't Happen Here


Books Read in 2007
Updated: 11/06
"Copper Beech"



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Desert Nut

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I'm Bored
(your smile for the day)
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A Tom Lehrer bonanza


Family Stories Vlog
(updated 10/2/07)

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Michele's Memorial


15 November 2007

(The title is my homage to A Tale of Two Cities)

My Scrabble buddy, Joan (who lives a couple of blocks from here and whom I almost never see face to face) invited me to go with her to meet with a group of women who are writing their memoirs.  I'd been to another of her groups, but though I already knew people in that group, they had been at it for so long and it seemed more "scholarly" than what I was looking for, so though I went several times, I never quite felt that I fit in.

The group today was different.  There were five of us.  I was by far the youngest.  I'm 64 and the next youngest was 72, the oldest in her 80s.  (Obviously I had been invited to inject youth and beauty.  LOL.)

What delightful women!  I felt more at home and comfortable instantly than I had felt in the other group.  I didn't bring anything to read today, but will next week.  They are all marvelous writers, and each individual style was already in evidence from the excerpts I heard today.

One woman brought in an article from The Sacramento Bee about the resurgence in interest in writing memoirs.  I was thinking about how strange people are sometimes.  I've talked here about my horror of those two trains leaving different stations at different times and being expected to figure out when they will meet.

Sometimes I hear people approaching the act of writing anything with the same fear that I have of those damn two trains.  They apologize if they "don't do it right" and they try so hard to follow the rules, they feel uncomfortable, wondering if their words are somehow "right," as if there were a "right" and a "wrong" way to express one's thoughts.

Writing has been as natural an act to me as breathing my entire life.  I can't understand people who freeze when they have to write something any more than someone can understand why I freeze at the phrase "two trains leave a station..."  It never occurs to me to wonder if I am writing my thoughts "properly" or not.  They are my thoughts.  My memories.  My feelings.  How could I not put them down in print "properly"?  You may not like my style of writing, you may not like what I have to say, but I have never worried about whether I was putting my thoughts down "properly" or not.

I have been extremely fortunate that I seem to have some sort of innate ability to construct a written work and have it flow logically.  It's just something I was born with.  As I could not understand those "train problems," I also had difficulty understanding the mathematics of the structure of a written piece.  I remember having outlines to work from in school and not really understanding what they meant.  I see a writing assignment pretty much in its entirety when I begin writing.  I know how it starts, I know how it ends, and it's just mechanics which roads I take to get to the conclusion.  Sometimes it works better than others, and it's kind of a screwy way to work, I guess...but it works for me.

One thing I am very proud of, as Peach has done our family history over the past several years, is discovering that there have been "writers" in this family for generations.  I suspect that my great grandfather and great-great grandfather wrote more than would be normal for midwestern farmers of their day (or any day), yet there is a large collection of letters sent from father to son which give a clear picture of the hardships of farming, and of attitudes toward the politics of the day.

It was "blogging" before there were computers or blogs!  I'm obviously a chip off the old blog.

I hope that I become involved with this writing group.  I had such a good time today and I'd like to get to know these women better.

In the evening I went from being the youngest in the room to being the oldest in the room.  I was invited to a surprise birthday party for Ashley at a local restaurant.  Ashley is considerably younger than all my children.  There were SPCA people older than 30 there, but nobody 60 or older.  Just me. (Obviously I had been invited to inject wisdom and maturity.)

It was a nice group of women and kids, all of whom sat around discussing the various dogs that are in the system right now.

I was able to get a report on Rupert's "forever home," a home here in Davis where the only thing the husband wanted to know is whether they could change his name or not.

And what's wrong with "Rupert," I ask!  Harumph.


Of course I brought ham to the funeral!
This is some of the left-overs


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