Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mining the past

For the past 22 years I've been writing about an incident in my life that happened when I was 12 years old. It wasn't the most horrible thing that ever happened to me by any means. I've often wondered why do I keep writing about it, why does it stick in my mind, drawing me back the way a lost tooth draws a tongue to the hole in the gum. I wrote 600 pages in 1989 in 6 weeks at a mountain retreat. Since that time I've reworked that material, written short stories, plays, poems from that mass of material, sometimes going back to the same incident, sometimes not -- but that incident is the spark. I think I have finally found the reason why. That was the pivotal moment, the incident that forever changed the journey I was on, switched my track. I made a momentous decision because of that incident, one I thought was a grownup decision, and I suppose it was, but was to set me off on a rocky course for many, many years. I'm writing a creative nonfiction piece about it now called "Losing My Place." I hope this one puts it to rest.

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