Having realized the dramatic shift in focus my story has taken, I set it aside to ferment a bit. I’m gently coming to the realization that the 2000 visit is not the best mechanism after all. I’m not yet clear on the possibility of combining the Love Letter to Mother Earth with my basic Los Alamos Girlhood story. To be complete, Mother Earth needs to include additional material from recent years, and I think it also needs to culminate in an additional visit for closure with the new form Mother has taken — with her new wardrobe, so to speak. Perhaps I need to scale back to something simpler and closer to my original concept to get the basics between covers before turning to Mother Earth.

In a few days my primary target reader will be here for a visit. All six of our grandchildren live way across the country from us, so we have never had the opportunity to spend time alone with them as they grew up. The oldest are well into their teen years now, old enough to fly unescorted, and the Portland pair is due to arrive on Wednesday. I plan to discuss this challenge with Stephanie, and feel certain she will have thoughts on the matter.

What a surprise it was when we realized we were calling our children for advise. It’s an even bigger surprise to realize my grandchildren are mature enough to have significant opinions. I’m thrilled that they have reached this stage at relatively young ages and also a bit daunted to realize I’ve lived long enough that those babies are nearing the point of leaving the nest. To keep things in perspective, I remind myself that by the time she was my age, my maternal grandmother had five great-grandchildren with another on the way.

Anyway, in honor of their visit, I don’t plan to be actively working on my story for at least a couple of weeks. It may be longer. I’m teaching a newly developed class in September, Writing for the Health of It, at both Carnegie Mellon’s Osher Institute, and the one at the University of Pittsburgh. This is not a writing class, and I’m doing lots of further research to beef up my presentations. I’m so excited that nearly fifty people have enrolled.