The yin and yang of writing

Chapter 5  (Redwoods, Rock Stars and Rocks) of We Were The California Girls, a memoir, represents my good times.  But I had a bad time writing it.

It’s not done.  I see at least a half-dozen rewrites on the thing–grammar, punctuation, all that stuff the real editors do.  Probably some more color and dialogue in future rewrites.

This chapter chronicles the end of the Sixties and the beginning decade of polyester and discos.  Cambodia was heard more often than Vietnam, along with a show of political arrogance and the failing of youthful idealism.

At this point in time I’m a young married woman who discovers the joy of word-crafting, nature and admiring men.  It’s not  that I wish to brag

I'm the bride. He's the birth-father of my children.

on these flirtations.  The flirtations and conquests are symptomatic of a generational and  personal gap–one  that, for me,  remained empty for years.  Consequently, the scripting of these moments taunt the side of me that wishes to paint a much different picture of the person that I am.

And that, perhaps, is the purpose of memoirs.  Really, who gives three flying pigs about my life?  Much more interesting tales have and will be told.  But at the same time, the writer in me wishes to connect with her readers and render that commonality we share.  You know, ring a bell, strike a chord, hit a nerve. 

Chapter 5 forced me to reopen old boxes and trunks and dig out  photos and poetry from those times. 

I found a dozen photos of every day life for a soldier in Vietnam.  Nearly 40 years later, when I read his notes on the back of the photos, I now conclude that he was seriously depressed and cloaked his inner disgust of war with commentary on a photo of a bombing, “…gun ships firin’ up some dink bunkers we found.  part of the war.  there’s people dead right there where that smoke is.  strange thought ain’t it.”

Each photo, each piece of poetry, written by me and my friends, opened my memory–even the sub-events that truly define the times–the times of a California girl–not to be confused with someone from the other coast. 

I don’t know if I’ll finish the project or not.  Yes, the project’s  beginning is posted, I’m nearing the middle, and the end is in my head.   It’s going to get more dicey as I progress thru the decades.  How much will I admit or tell?  I don’t know.

2 thoughts on “The yin and yang of writing

  1. Maybe this chapter should be entirely made up of the poems and pictures of that war — with possible side comments or none at all. Just let it speak for itself, no comment necessary. Hmmmmmmm???

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