On Monday night at 5:00 pm PACIFIC time, you log on to the Year of Memoir writing class facilitated by Amy Ferris and Debra Engel. You’re excited because you love this class, yet sometimes you become emotional as you listen to the stories and think about your own.
You are grateful because you work on Monday nights and your supervisor allowed you to change your work hours and begin at 7:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm because you want to participate fully in this essential class that you need so you can finally finish the memoir. But now you must work until 4:00 am instead of 3:0am on Monday nights. Oh well!
You wonder if you’ll ever finish the memoir, then you put that thought out of your head.
As soon as the memoir class ends, or sometimes just a few moments before, you log on to work on your “work computer” that sits right next to your PC. It is a strategic move on your part so that you can always listen to classes if you must work while they happen.
During a break from work, you record the second song of “100 Days of Ukulele,” a project you began the day before on Sunday when you weren’t so busy. You succeeded in this project last year, and it gives you a lift and makes you feel successful to work on the project again.
You decide that you will also write a blog post everyday or evening as well. So you call this, “100 Days of Ukulele and Blog.”
The second song you play is “’Til There Was You” because it was the second song played on the February 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show. You have no idea why you decided to play those first five songs. Maybe because it is the month of February, which you call, “FABuary.”
You remember that it’s Valentine’s Day and memories flood your mind.
Like that time when you were around nine or ten when you and the strongest and sometimes meanest kid in the neighborhood went for a walk in Sutro Forest and held hands and he carved your name and his on a tree with a heart around it.
Or that other time when you had to watch your three-year-old grandson while attending the San Francisco Writer’s Conference on Valentine’s Day because you promised his parents you would and you got mixed up on the dates and your grandson charms everyone at the conference. You play the ukulele with a band and go out to dinner with a bunch of writers with your grandson. Then you ride the cable car with him.
Or how about that other Valentine’s Day two years ago when you were in San Francisco cat sitting for your friend and you have a blast hanging out with all of your close friends, traveling from one music jam to another – you even lead one at Bronco Billy’s Pizza Parlor as you’d done for years. And you had no idea that would be the last time before the whole world changed. You were so carefree then.
You finally log off the work computer at 4:00 am because you’re done with work. You completely rewrite the 1967 memory from San Francisco to add scene, summary, and reflection. You wonder if you’re confused about describing a scene and summary, but just go with the flow.
You wonder if Sutro Forest, plopped in the middle of San Francisco close to the neighborhood where you grew up, really was filled with eucalyptus trees as you remembered, or were there other trees as well? You also wonder about Sutro Forest because it’s been so many years since you’ve been there.
You look up Sutro Forest online and find out that it is filled with blue gum eucalyptus trees, or at least it was, some as tall as Douglas Firs, and that there are a few coastal redwood trees mixed in as well.
You fall down a rabbit hole reading about Sutro Forest and then you’re outraged to find out “they” as in UCSF who had promised to preserve Sutro Forest, have threatened to knock down some of the healthy trees, and the environmentalists and conservationists are fighting this.
On some weird type of adrenaline, you continue to write. You end up writing three memory pieces instead of just one. At least one of them will end up in your memoir, you hope. You plop all three memories into one blog post – for now. You find photographs of Land’s End where the ocean meets the bay that you took in February 2020, and post them as well.
It is now after 6:00 a.m. and you have not gone to bed yet. You finally lay down to sleep, but you toss and turn thinking about your story.