We are two writers, a partnership, pet moms, a couple of travelers in an EggCamper. This project is born out of the philosophy that life is yours to live. Our lives are motivated by growth and a sense of adventure. We learn. We try new things. We write. We make mistakes. We find inspiration in the world around us. You're invited to join our 2018 book writing travel journey here.
I am in the
middle of an obsessive project. Anne supports the obsession by making sure I
get dressed in the morning and eat a good dinner in the evening.
obsession involves identifying family members in old photographs (my mom is helping immensely via text!), typing labels
for these photos, and then scanning the photos with their labels so that future
family members can see the family story.
photos for people as part of my work as an organizer. I have often thought, and
even commented to my clients, that these photos or family letters that they
have had me scan would be an amazing glue for a novel or some other type book.
I have a
particular fascination with history, simple factual history, the fact that what
happened even 100 years ago is all but a mystery to us today. Autobiographies
are written about famous people of 50 or more years ago that are so full of
guesses, probablies, and we-thinks. I wonder how on earth we lose information
My Gram Beverly
Here I am
scanning photos of family members born just about 100 years ago. In those
lifetimes, they existed in a world I can not even imagine. My great
grandmother, for example, was diagnosed with tuberculosis, went to a
sanatorium, where she was treated in isolation from the outside world and
eventually died. I have approximately 5,034 questions. From the diagnosis to
her death…HOW did it all play
out? Did she go home to pack a few things? Was she instantly and immediately
quarantined? How do you feel about these things as a 22 year old mother of two
daughters??? She lived there for about a year. What did she do? How did she
pass time? Did she write? Is there any hope of recovery or do patients all
intend to go and die there?
leaving two very young daughters with their father in the middle of The Great
Depression. These two daughters ended up wards of the state growing up in a
State Public School, but their father never gave up his rights to the girls.
Rather than adoption which would only be possible if their father gave them up,
the girls went from foster home to foster home which often meant being a
servant to a family who needed help. The way children’s protective services has
changed since these days is truly unbelievable. What was acceptable, required,
and expected back just 80 years ago is simply stunning to me. How can I be so
removed from the reality of just 80 years ago and from a situation that was a
family reality no less???
"yours truly" is my grandpa, AKA Pop
the questions that compel me to scan photos for my own family and for other
people with boxes of photos and old albums rotting in the basement. These days
scanners are available for a very affordable price-tag. People can certainly scan
their own photos. My clients hire me (for 19 cents per photo) because often, these jobs are incredibly
overwhelming, exhausting, and time consuming even if you move quickly and know
exactly what you are doing. I scan photos for other people, then they can label
the photos once they are in digital form. The overwhelm is greatly reduced. The
albums can still exist for those of us who enjoy the tactile existence of old
paper, but the color and integrity of the paper will be preserved digitally as
those colors fade and paper disintegrates in real life.
Anne and I
read the first two Miss Peregrine books by Ransom Riggs. These books are written
for a young audience but employ the concept of using old bizarre photographs to
propel the storytelling. I positively love this concept.
Pop at the end of WWII
With all of
the photos I am currently scanning, with all the questions that I have swimming
in my brain, with all of my desire to write a story that floods the mind with
awe and imagery, I am beginning to outline a tale using the tales of my family
of this 1930’s time. The fact is, this book will be complete fiction even if I
use the correct names and dates. The important part of any story is the way
people feel. I can’t possibly know any of that. And this takes us back to my
fascination with history of the not-so-distant past. Even a well researched
autobiography of a famous person is put together with suppositions. These
render the entirety at least somewhat fictitious. Even a biography written by a
person about her own life in the here and now could be considered somewhat
fictitious. One person’s point of view in any particular situation might be
another person’s complete fiction, and not because one is lying. Points of
view, ways that we each internalize the world around us, these are individual
and not universal.
For now, I
will finish scanning all these piles of photos and keep them safe for any
family member of the future who cares to see them. Maybe, just maybe, I will
find a way to tell a story with them.