Monday, September 7, 2015

What Are You Working On?

I've been asking myself this question since starting this blog series on August 6th. Maybe before. It's taken me a week since I returned from vacation in California to get back into writing mode, but that's not to say I haven't been working. It's all in the definition of work.

A writer's work involves a whole lot of staring out the window at the trees dancing in the wind and the gray rain falling over Seattle. Writing memoir involves revisiting the past, retracing old paths, remembering what is forgotten. It includes lying in the guest bedroom of a friend's home in California remembering the handful of years in the mid-1970s when I was a UCSC student after a day of wandering Santa Cruz and the campus. My mind was also at work while breakfasting with friends I last saw 36 years and 6 months earlier in Mexico City.

On October 17, 1989 the 6.9 Loma Prieta Earthquake rocked California at 5:04 p.m. The news coverage focused on the devastating damage in San Francisco, but I wasn't acutely aware of the destruction in Santa Cruz until last week when I went in search of my favorite two haunts from the 1970s: Cooper House and Bookshop Santa Cruz. The first no longer exists. The second is in a new location. From George at the new Bookshop Santa Cruz I learned that downtown Santa Cruz was leveled and it took almost ten years to rebuild. Only a deep hole remains where the Bookshop Santa Cruz I knew and loved once stood.
Now back in Seattle with my journals, I'm struggling to read the scribbles of a young woman in her mid-20s, thoughts expressed sometimes in English, others in Spanish, sometimes a mix. I'm typing what I might choose to include in this memoir-in-progress, as I piece together fragments of memory in hopes of creating a whole. The memoir is there. It demands to be told. I just have to work my way through the dust of memory: work is not done at the computer.

The series continues this Wednesday with a guest post from Elizabeth Moore. Don't want to miss it? Subscribe by entering your email address in the box in the upper right column.

To read the prior posts, go to the posts listing in the left side bar. If titles are no longer visible, just click on "August" to select.

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