I have two other blogs on WordPress, neither of which I’ve been paying enough attention to for the last four years. From the Seasonally Occupied Territories is about living year-round on Martha’s Vineyard, which I’ve been doing for 35 going on 36 years. I’ve still got a lot to say about the place, but “been there, done that” set in some time ago, and there’s something about the place — and about most small towns and tight neighborhoods — that makes one think twice about saying anything controversial. Since most things worth saying are likely to be controversial, this is a problem.
My other blog is Write Through It, subtitled “On Writing, Editing, and How to Keep Going.” I’m an editor by trade and a writer by avocation. I’ve got plenty to say about both, but “been there, done that” kicks in there too. Not to mention — I, like hundreds of thousands, probably millions of USians, had my priorities somewhat rearranged by the 2016 presidential election. What I’ve done and learned since then didn’t fit into either of my two blogs so I rarely even tried to write about it.
It did get me thinking about what was probably the most politically engaged part of my life, from 1968 to 1985, when I moved from Washington, D.C., to Martha’s Vineyard, where I (kicking and screaming) still live. Over and over I watched people around me discovering as if for the first time stuff I was taking for granted by the early 1980s. Hardly anyone I knew in the 1990s and into the 21st century shared any of my experiences. They hadn’t read the same books or listened to the same music. Had I hallucinated the whole thing or what?
But I hadn’t. I knew I hadn’t. Because I had the T-shirts, and each T-shirt triggered a cascade of memories. It had all happened, for sure it had all happened.
As I wrote in my very first post to this new blog, “for my 50th birthday party, in June 2001, I hung 25 or 30 of my T-shirts around the living room to represent my previous two and a half decades.” My guests marveled and asked questions; their questions prompted stories. And memories. And attempts to feel connections between then and now, and how to write across the decades.
So that’s what I’m up to. I really, really, really want to hear from you who shared some of my experiences, or had similar experiences, or who had different experiences at similar times, and from everyone who feels a connection with these events, these movements, these stories.
I’m also eager to explore the through threads that tie my life together. From the outside they may look inexplicable, but they couldn’t possibly be, could they? Because they’re part of my life, and my life ties them together.