I’m not exaggerating in profiles and other material when I claim to have written over 500 life stories. There is no way of counting exactly, because they are scattered all over creation, and some of those may be two paragraphs, but I really do have that many. The past couple of days I’ve been rereading anything I have in print (far from the whole collection, I admit).

My intention as I pulled out the bulging portfolio was to read those folders with material that may be relevant to The Los Alamos Years. I quickly discovered that my filing system is a joke, and began reading through the whole collection — at least the equivalent of a book by now. Probably two volumes. This experience is fascinating! Yes, I’m noting edits on nearly every piece, but few or substantial. Earlier edits are holding up well.

What I’m finding is that this pile of isolated vignettes is powerful stuff, way more so than I remotely realized. Many of my own pieces move me to tears all over again as I reexperience the situations I wrote about. These are good tears. Tears of re-experienced resolution. If no other person ever reads them, the effort I put into bringing them to this state was worth it.

But the good news is that there is a ton of material to be incorporated into A Los Alamos Girlhood. Some of it is well-written as it stands. Other is resource material to be woven in.  I’m encouraged by this.

I also found a piece I wrote almost five years ago that could serve as a lead-in. Or maybe not. But I have set it aside.

Bottom line: if you are reading this and not yet ready to tackle an organized memoir, don’t hesistate for a moment to write a huge pile (500 or more) of vignette stories. If I were to die tomorrow, those vignettes would be there and bear powerful testimony to years I may never get round to dgesting further. Vignettes, life story writing, is a valuable resource and well worth your time to write. At this point I’m glad that I began that way, and encourage others to do likewise.

My challenge now is to weave together all the memories and resources I have discovered.

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