A Bit Sappy

So I'm sitting in the public library down the road from my school because if I stay in my classroom I'll grade papers and if I go home I'll play with my dogs. So here I am. I walk in like a B-list celebrity as a bunch of kids from school are here mostly pretending to do homework and can't seem to understand why one of their teachers is invading their space. The "quiet room" in the back is filled for a little while and I have to sit at a long bench between a math tutor and his student discussing fractions and a foul mouthed fifteen year old and her "cool" aunt holding some sort of counseling session. It is hard to concentrate. Finally, a spot opens up and I am able to go into the quiet room and work. I am much more productive. I finish my second set of parallel stories that needed a massive overhaul from the weekend and I get to blog.

I've been thinking a lot about the happiness this project is bringing me. Dr. Zamora asked me last week reflective questions and I really have been thinking.... This project has purpose for my family. My father, my best friend and buddy, is also the most stubborn man and a source of frustration in my life. At 85 years old I suppose he's earned the right to be. I wasn't really sure how he would embrace my work. Throughout grad school he has liked some things that I've written, one story in particular since it had to do with my mom, but I can honestly say that he is now excited and involved. He comes over each week for Sunday dinner. As I cook I sometimes work. He, of his own accord, has sat down, taken my computer and read my writings. I can't believe it. Two weeks in a row! I can't even express how much this gesture means to me. He has been a great provider when I have needed clarifying follow up information and continually supports whatever I need. I just wasn't expecting this. I figured he'd check it out when it was finished, and that would've been ok with me. I just hope it comes out the way I envision and that I make him proud.

As I Start Creating

I'm in the middle of writing my first piece right now and needed to take a break because I'm being very hard on myself. I am using this blog to refocus myself and remind myself that this is a work in progress and I am creating drafts at the moment. There will be time for revision and adjusting later. This does not need to be perfect and probably will never be perfect. It's not coming out exactly as I want, but that's ok for now. I need to start and get it going. I love revision and when the time comes I will strengthen all of my pieces.

I decided to keep a list of concerns or thoughts that are bothering me about each piece while I write or after I read it over, so I know my focus areas later. I also know that I need to get more specific information from my dad about a few of these tales of his. I should be happy to have a focus for now. OK- a walk outside to see my pups and then back at it.

What Will It Look Like?

I've been thinking about what my creative take on my dad's interviews will look like. His interviews became a looking glass into his life as a child growing in Newark during the Depression and WW II. The interviews were rich with stories of family, neighborhood, sibling bonding, and friendship. His life was very different than mine as a child, but I couldn't help thinking about common threads that came up. I mentioned one in my last block about being that neighborhood kid. I also could connect when he talked about the bond he felt with his brother. Growing up, I definitely had a similar bond with one of my brothers and my sister. I think that although my dad and his friends got into a lot more mischief than I did, they still had a lot of regular kid moments.

All of these thoughts lead me to what I would like to create for my writing project. I would like to capture many of my father's stories through my writing and then create a parallel story of my own that connects to his. It would be a kind of parallel memoir?? with first a written interpretation of one of my dad's moments, then I would create a piece about a memory of my own that came back to me when he shared. For example the topic could be a moment he felt really scared or how the movies played an important role in his life as a child. I know that both of our mini-memoirs need to be more than just a retelling, so I feel that more interview work needs to be completed to get to the heart of why these moments were important.

 I would like to show how the power of oral history can bring about familial connections and make family members reflect on their own lives in new ways.