One thing I know for sure: what I intend and what actually happens are not necessarily related. In 2005 I wanted to write a book about my father. He was such a character and even with dementia he was funny. I wanted to tell the stories that made us laugh and help others who had relatives struggling with the same condition. My friend Eleanor, a frequent participant at the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference, offered to help me sketch out some characters for the book.
I was blessed with Eleanor’s help because this process was personal and even therapeutic. Sitting at my dining room table or hers we mined my past for appropriate tidbits three hours every week. Along the way I told her about the experiences I’d had as a civil rights worker in Pineville, South Carolina. It was those tales that interested her most.
So, I shared a video tape with her. In 2000 I’d taken my husband Joe to meet my adopted South Carolina Family – Lottie Smalls and all her kin. Joe taped each family member, the kids at play in the yard, and lots of laughter. Eleanor watched the video, looked at me and said, “There’s your book.”
Ah, but were they really what the book would be about?