Sunday, July 02, 2017

My Editor asked a question yesterday that may need to be answered ... .

"Do you recall what caused you to create this blog, Betty?"

He's been working with this journal for months now in the process of constructing the book, and nowhere have I ever mentioned how it came to be, apparently.  I thought for a few minutes, and then realized that I'd never anticipated needing to explain its origins since this was always a conversation I was having with myself, and therefore never needed explanation.  Though in the beginning the intended audience was my children and theirs, and those yet unborn.  I'm not certain that I'd ever thought to inform them of its existence, or that anyone beyond the family would have any interest in its contents.

Back in the late Nineties I'd been working on our family history for months through visits to the Mormon Family History Center, and to the genealogy websites then developing online  at the time and were increasingly intriguing.  It slowly began to dawn that the women got lost or were nearly impossible to follow.  It was frustrating when an interesting ancestor would unceremoniously drop out of sight as names changed through marriage, or, they simply ceased to exist in the records through changing and unexplained relationships. Everything rested with the males in the lineage, though there were obviously many colorful and fascinating women down through the ages, people I hungered to know more about.

I've lived through some tumultuous history during my lifetime, and how an ordinary woman survived those times surely should be as fascinating to those unknown future historians as it would have been for me to be able to know how our ancestors got through those perilous periods of slavery and reconstruction, yet survived to produce my generation.  It felt as if a debt might be owed to those who preceded me in life, a debt that I could assume because I, and my generation, were that legacy that their pain and suffering made possible.

Those years of research had changed unalterably my perceptions of my own place in history and the world, and has given me a strong sense of the continuity of Life.  Technological advances have enabled present generations to make linkages with the past that were only accessible to professionals not that long ago.

East Bay Center for the Performing Arts Map
(Click to enlarge)
At some point there rose a need to leave footprints of my own life for the family historians of the future to follow.  I would not be lost.  The experience of reconstructing our  history had given me a deep sense of having a foundation upon which to build, and that those few bricks that I was contributing to that family foundation would help to erect the platform upon which the next generation of our young women would stand.

Owning my first computer opened up possibilities undreamed of, but -- untrained in the field -- that first post in September of 2003 was just a stab at finding a place to stand while I figured out the parameters and how to "make it up as it went along."

I had little sense of anyone actually reading it.  I didn't dream of the possibility of an unseen and unrelated readership having any interest in its contents.

After some months of sitting with my own thoughts, alone, this blog began to slowly become the mechanism by which I could hold conversations with myself as I processed life.  There was never an outside presence standing in judgment.  I cannot recall any time when it ever came up in conversation with any family members.  I'd list the links to it among the other assets in my Will, but that it would surely hold little interest among the young until after my death.

Oddly enough, neither did I ever become aware of or write to a public audience.  I've never invited criticism, permission, arguments for or against anything, it just became a method of ordering my life as it was being lived; processing fears and resentments, concerns -- both public and private.  Opining about everything large and small, so that I might leave at least an impression of my having shared life on the planet, and that I'd contributed in tiny increments either by what I did or failed to do toward creating the future, along with everybody else on the planet.  No more, no less.

At Telluride, Colorado, presenting, Summer 2016
Now that I'm aware that this personal journal has developed a worldwide following over time, I still tend to be writing without being consciously aware of whoever is out there reading my words.  I'm usually sitting at my computer, alone at the end of my day, generally in my pajamas and slipper socks with a single library lamp at my elbow dimly-lit, and in conversation with myself while letting you listen.

There has never been any particular order to any of it, no rhyme or reason, just a way of explaining Life to myself while in the process of living it.  I rarely go back to re-read anything I've written, but find that I've expended all of the energy (sense?) of it in the original documenting of the thoughts, though -- once written -- I find those thoughts committed to memory for all time, as with all of the songs that I've ever composed, despite the fact that they were rarely written down nor published anywhere.  Because there are few stated rights or wrongs there is little reason for making corrections.  The magic, the power, appears to be embedded in the act of creation for me, whatever the form.

In a strange way, this journal appears to be propelling me forward into an unknown future with intentionality.  It brings a sense of order to my life -- though never with a conscious awareness of the unfolding process ... only in the sense that -- for me, for this hour, in this moment,  and though it is always subject to revision in the light of new realities --

this is my Truth.