Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writing Process

I've cut a ream of paper into strips and organized them, best I can, into a chronology. Two reams of paper, years worth of my writing, to go. What I've discovered is that I can chunk stories, photos, letters and stuffed animals into general categories, like sixth grade or the Lee foster home, but when it comes to order within each category, I'm at a loss. I spent sixth grade in three different schools, but which when and how long exactly where?

 In my twenties, Granny, my paternal step-grandmother, gave me a fat manila folder filled with family and school pictures, first and second place ribbons, report cards, my fingerprints- registered with the Round Rock, Texas police, and court documents. A copy of a visitation schedule between my grandmother and bio father. A later copy of a restraining order containing affidavits from Granny and Juliet, my bio mother, detailing his violence and their fears of it further escalating.

 What I find most grounding about these documents, aside from the fact that my grandmother held them in her hands and gave them to me before dementia stole her brain, is that I have dates, names and addresses, of important events in my life. The beginning of a chronology, which naturally made me wonder if, maybe, I ought to take another look at my case file, sent from Texas in May of 2010. 

Now, I'm four hundred pages in with eight hundred pages to go.

 Why now? A matter of converging events.

**About one and half years ago I received an un-redacted copy of my file, from the state of Texas, on disc. It's twelve hundred pages, separated into thirteen files. I spent a four hour period, the day I received it, opening, dipping in here and there and reading what was decipherable. That was enough to last me awhile.

 **This spring, I visited my bio mother and my bio uncles and their families in Austin, Texas. It was the first I'd seen my bio mother in fifteen years.

 **In June I started taking anti-depressants; I wanted to have fun, with a capital F over the summer with my boys. Crying most days, working on this book project was not doing the trick. 

**My bio father died in August at the age of sixty-four. Complications of kidney and heart disease. Something about his anti-rejection meds not working well with a pacemaker. He's had at least one kidney transplant, though I thought two. Thanks to genetics, I have a transplant or two in my future as well. My father's death has filled me with grief and relief. No chance ever, for some fantasy reconciliation and slim chance now, that he'll bring a libel suit against me from beyond the grave.
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