One more time

Posted on April 17, 2009


I decided, when I decided to start blogging again, that I would not import from my other blog. It was a little disconcerting to realize that I produced hundreds of pages of writing, some of it marginally interesting, and nothing worth publishing. I think I’ll just print it off, spiral bind it, and put it on a shelf for some interested family researcher a hundred years from now who has my eyes, my bone structure, and my patience reading. Harumph.

This time I decided to do something worthwhile. Thank you for not snickering. I ran across another blog trying to make the world a better place, or at least do some research on its present condition, and I was inspired. I’ve decided to write a book. I know, you just fell off your chair in complete non-surprise. “But this is different.” (I do thank you for limiting your reaction to raised eyebrows.)

Fried Green Tomatoes and Tuesdays with Morrie have already been written. I don’t care. I’m going to write about Alta. Maybe my family and hers will be the only to read it. It makes me happy. Far too little effort is expended on things that genuinely make us happy. There’s something wrong with that.

So, interspersed with observations about life and kids and waking up to do it again will be chapters from The Best I Could. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile. No, I’m not going to change the title. It’s from a poem she learned in junior high that she likes to quote about a boy who runs away to the circus and dies. I know. The first time I heard it I was a little slack-jawed, not sure whether to clear my throat or continue slack-jawed or laugh uncomfortably. It’s very stark, with that societal starkness that emerged through the Great Depression. The way she embraces that tragic poem is a story to me, and it’s a story worth telling.

The older I get the more interesting I find people’s lives, the more value I find in their experiences and their outlook. Yesterday I heard someone refer to “low-income people” as “low-functioning,” and make a statement that what we require of them would be hard for “us.” I caught my eyebrows before they flew off my face, smashed them back on my forehead, and clamped my lips shut to keep from muttering. And then I thought again of how important it is to build bridges between “us” and “them,” bridges that demonstrate in unfrightening ways that “they” are “us.”

So. I’m dusting off the manuscript for The Workshop too. This summer. I think.


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