Drove up to Santa Barbara today to visit with friends of my mother & to get some help making sense of genealogy research my mother did. Good on both fronts today.

It was a beautiful day for a drive. It was nice to get away. A break from the norm. A different place.

I’m leaning towards putting draft #2 on hold, for now. During the drive, my mind kept wandering towards possibilities for this new WIP.

The interesting thing…the last couple weeks, at least half a dozen people have told me to write to get through this. The interesting thing, they don’t know I write. All of them suggested writing about what I’m going through, or rather my mother. Which is kind of funny/odd because my mother used to always joke that our family–her included–would make great material for a book. She didn’t know I was working on a novel. I hadn’t told her, or any of my immediate family, because I didn’t want the pressure of being asked (1) what was I writing about, and (2) when was I going to finish it. Telling friends & strangers always entailed less pressure. My current WIP is not about my family. I’m not saying I’m going to now write non-fiction, or non-fiction thinly disguised as fiction. But I think I will be using a thread of all this and spinning it into something. Sticking with fiction. I don’t know, non-fiction just doesn’t appeal to me. Too confining. At least for now. Who knows.

Today wasn’t bad. It’s weird to say that.

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Today I actually did something that felt productive. Yeah, I’ve been working the last couple of days, but that just feels like going through the motions. I was talking to a friend of my mom’s earlier today. Without her, carrying out my mother’s wishes would have been difficult to say the least. With her, everything went perfectly (for lack of a better word!). It just so happens, that my mom’s friend lost her own mother 2 weeks to the day after my mother died. Her mother was much older than mine & had been ill for sometime. So, the death was expected. But still, talking to her today, I realized she understood what I was feeling & how I was getting through my days.

We got to talking about the genealogy research my mother had done on the Native American tribe we are members of. I mentioned that I had found all the documents, but there is no clear family tree. There are a bunch of indecipherable charts with some names I remember her mentioning, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. My mom’s friend suggested I try focusing on that right now. Something to do. So, I got off the phone with her, & started going through & organizing all the papers. I came to the conclusion I need help to figure it all out. Luckily there is an anthropologist at the museum near where the tribe is located. I know my mother worked with him to do some of the family research. I googled him, got his email address, & sent him an email asking for help. He responded almost immediately & I’m driving up north to meet him next Friday. He’s offered to help me put together a family tree from the research I have.

Since my mother died, the thing I’ve regretted most was that I always figured I’d have time to ask her questions about this part of our heritage & that one day she’d explain all the charts & pictures to me herself. Luckily, there are people who can fill in some of the blanks I’m left with & I’m turning to them to learn what my mother learned.

I hate to think that all my mother knew died with her. I know it didn’t. And I know she taught us the important stuff that is getting us through each day & making this a tad easier (I suppose). But there are still so many things I just thought there would be time to learn or to ask her about. So, now I’m making it my goal to at least learn some of what she spent the last 20 years learning as she figured out what she loved & what interested her, & what made her who she was.

Image: Ben McLeod via flickr