Thursday, July 3, 2008


Today Mom and I participated in StoryCorps ( which is a program that gives you 40 minutes to talk to each other in a mobile recording studio. The results is a CD we get to keep, of me asking my mother about her childhood, her school years and college years, all the places she's lived, and traveled; the most important events of her life, and advice to pass on to me and her granddaughters as a legacy. We get to keep the CD, which will no doubt become a precious family legacy just like the recording that mom made of her interviewing her own mother about her past, a year or so before she died. We also signed the release form so that our "stories" will be archived in the Library Congress as a part of America's living history. Pictures and videos and journals and letters are all an important part of our family's legacy, but this is a wonderful addition - I wish I'd found out about it earlier so I could have had time to tell others about it (all the interview times are already filled for the time that StoryCorps is in Laramie) but also I would have loved to drag B. down to interview him. He is a born storyteller and the stories of his childhood are so fascinating to me because they are so different than my own, plus he makes them so funny! When I try to write them down, I lose so much of the heart of the story. It's the same with my Dad. I've been asking him on and off to share memories of his childhood and young adulthood, and then later I try to write down as much as I remember, but it would be so nice if I could get him to agree to be recorded.

Later I had writer's group, my chapters 27-30 were critiqued. I feel as usual both motivated and frustrated. It's been over six months now since the end of November, when I wrote over 100 pages and made such encouraging progress on my book. So I went back and re-read everything I wrote last November and I'm afraid (but not surprised) that it's lost its shiny newness. The writing isn't terrible, but it isn't top quality, either. Well, it just needs some work. The work part isn't the frustrating part; the frustrating part is I'm so close to the end - probably just another 40-50 pages - but I feel like I can't finish it. First of all, there's some issues with the plot I can't quite figure out, but the biggest problem is that the plot just keeps going and going - I need to streamline it somehow. The book is at 400 pages right now and there's still the conclusion, plus quite a few gaps that I need to go back and fill in. It could easily go over 500 pages. I need to go back to outlining and see where I can trim things down again. With six months behind me, I no longer feel like I every word I wrote is sacred.

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