Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking back, looking forward

A little late with my "usual" Monday morning blog... but here it is, and it's still before noon, so hopefully this counts as on time.

It's been a hectic two weeks, during which I spent most of the time with my rear glued to the chair, banging out some deadline-driven projects for clients. I emerged late last night, triumphant, but ready to stand and stretch for a while. How did I feel about meeting all those deadlines? Rather like:


Right this instant (Monday morning), I'm sitting in "the Silo" at UC Davis, looking at all the students studying away (well, some are studying, anyway), and thinking how YOUNG they all look. I'm also reflecting back over my UC Berkeley days, when I learned that sobering life lesson: Sometimes you can try really REALLY REALLY hard... and you still won't get an "A." And, sometimes, the idiot sitting next to you who never studies and is constantly goofing off and mouthing off isn't an idiot at all but some insanely brilliant 15-year-old pipsqueak who aces every physics class without even trying.

(Did my mom tell me life isn't fair? Yes, she did. And it's a lesson I'm still learning at 60+ years.)

I'm also reflecting back on my dear Aunt Dorothy, born in 1909, who died some time ago. In the 1990s, when I became seriously interested in family history, I was always pestering her with questions about her parents (my grandparents), her aunts, uncles, etc. (Her mother was Inez Stannert, my paternal grandmother who was raised in Leadville, so here's the Silver Rush connection.) 

I guess sometimes I overdid the relentless-interviewer style, because, at one point, she asked me in exasperation, "Why are you so interested in all that old stuff? It's all in the past!"

Surprised, I said, "Don't you think about the past?"

She responded, "No."

I couldn't understand this. I mean, here was a woman who lived through World War I, the Depression, World War II, had been a career woman (legal secretary, back when it was quite a feat for a "mere female,") ... and she didn't reflect on the past?

Curious, I asked, "What do you think about?"

Her prompt reply: "The future."


That gave me pause, as my aunt was well into her nineties at this point.

I asked cautiously, "What, in particular, about the future?" (At least I didn't say WHAT future ... which was my first thought but which would have been terribly insensitive to blurt out, so thank goodness I didn't.) 

I think I'd tired her out at that point, because I remember she simply shrugged and looked away ...

Okay, this is getting way maudlin.

So, like my dear Aunt Dorothy, let's look to the future...

This coming week, I'll be off to Ridgecrest, California, to talk with the California Writers Club "Ridge Writers" group on March 6 about how I came to write a mystery series set during the Colorado Silver Rush.

Also, a little tootle of the BSP horn: I am Poisoned Pen Press's "Author of the Month" for March! They've bestowed this status upon me in recognition of Women's History Month, and my fictional endeavors in the area of women's history in the West. This just makes me smile, big time. 

And to wrap up this rambling post, I'd like to turn and tip my hat to the past, saying: This is for you, Aunt Dorothy... A true woman of the West: strong, tough when you had to be, always looking forward and never giving up or giving in.
Here's to you, Aunt Dorothy!


Liz said...

Colorado Book Month:

Ann Parker said...

Hi Liz! Thanks for the link! Looks like March is a great month all around. :-) I didn't know it was also Colorado Book Month...