My New Book

I love it when movies inspire people to do good things. That is why I watch them, dependent upon the mood for the day. It’s 1:30AM, my roommate is asleep, and I am listening to the soundtrack from the Help over Koss headphones that I grabbed in the major move from six years ago. My writing style is anything but academic, and yet I’m having fun.

As for the title of this particular blog, anyone who is actually following it, (I think that there is one of you), you read about how I want to write a dissertation on trauma following death and perhaps how to get out of it. At least one close friend is against this. She is in the middle of her own issues and this is too close. I never realized before how many friends have recent deaths in the family. That is not why I chose this topic for the dissertation. I chose it because of my experiences of six deaths in seven years. From natural causes, from accidents, and one murder, death is a prevalent theme in my life of late. the last death brought unexpected closure to the series. I have no idea of the arch of the book for the dissertation, but in the meantime, I feel like I need to write a Memoir. That is the purpose of this particular introductory blog, and the scariest thing that I have ever done. I’ve talked myself out of it more times than I can count. The closest that I’ve gotten to writing it is 50 pages and an outline, all stored on the hard drive that just crashed. It would cost about $700 to restore the hard drive and I don’t have that kind of cash whatsoever. So, I get the privilege of starting over after writing the first four chapters.

I am not sure how different it will be seeing as the timeline is my own. The names are changing to protect innocent and guilty parties, but what I will write is all truth. No varnishing. No changing it up outside editorial license. I don’t know what good or more likely what ill it will do. Nice little LDS girls don’t write Memoirs. Well, maybe they do. Some phenomenal LDS female writers out there are my heroines. I don’t read LDS fiction, so I don’t know what there is outside of Ender’s Game. At least, I’ve read a couple of LDS books, but nothing since I was a later teenager. They’re not a massive influence on me. I like classics, quirky writers with heart who occasionally swear but get their points across. I do not intend on swearing. I need to write what I want to read.

So, this is the birth of Almost Ten Years at BYU: An Absolutely, Unbelievably True Story. Tagline: The Names are Changed, the rest is the same. My family may hate me by the time it’s done. That’s the one thing that I don’t want. I also don’t want law suits. Being careful of what I write is important. I also will be, as my mother used to say, “brutally honest.” This isn’t going to show a beautiful picture unless a person wants parts of the human heart that matter. I am an idealist. I completely set that forward right now. Although I  wish for no rudeness, and  not to be mean to people, there is a strong possibility that people will get hurt. That is what has kept me back for years. The people who say to just go ahead and write, you don’t know the implications. It means that you see how it could effect your family, and you think about how the concept makes a difference. Of course I care about the people who I’m writing about. I’m not sure why I need to write it, but it’s been on my mind off and on since maybe 2007? The hard part is writing when you’re not exactly sure what the end is, and tonality during writing… do you write like you were a freshman, or do you write as the wiser student who is finally finishing these years later? I love the story. Yes, I’m in love with my life, but that’s only happened due to severe trials and hardships or heart aches in the meantime.

My life now is so different from where it was back then. I learned and loved so much. I would never replace it, and couldn’t replace it with anything else. What does one semi-overweight white girl from DC who grew up LDS have to share with the rest of the world, especially about some weird, out-there place called Utah, combined with LA and NYC? Yeah, great settings, I’ll admit. My life feels like a chick flick. Gag me? *grins* I’m a bit different from most, if not all people, but I’m also the same underneath it all. My life is one lived in faith. Wonder if that could ever come across were this to become a movie someday. *shrugs* We’ll see. All that I know is that I’m the main one who could write my story. The post-9/11 under play when seen from someone who was close to a lot of the major events of the ages. Yes, I was close for proximity to 9/11. I was at the President’s Initiative on Race in 1998. I was at the Napster hearing at BYU and I lived near to campus when Jimmer caught the basketball world on fire. Things like that.

I served a mission in LA when the DC sniper was shooting literally close to my home. Technology and the world entirely changed when I was away in LA. Then, New York, and falling in love with that city. Coming back, and being independent and staying as strong as possible with the gospel. Things are hard, but endurance is good. What we create is a very good thing. I need to go to bed now, but those are some of the thoughts going through my head as I finally write this pre-write. I need to start somewhere. Better late than never. Bring it on. 🙂

The Genealogy Doctor

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So This is Christmas: Dissertations and Becoming Dr. Death

At least, it will be on Sunday. Yesterday I had an academic shifting-discussion with a lady on an American Airlines flight from Chicago to LA. I made her, her seat mate, and the mother across the way small crocheted snowflakes on the flight. Found out that the lady, P, for short, was on her way to Melbourne although she grew up in Chicago and loves cheese and caramel Garrett’s popcorn. That was for documentary purposes at some point. The man had a scotch, and the mother had twin children, a boy and a girl.

The thing that seemed important to me was that while speaking with the woman, I decided on a doctoral emphasis and general research topic. I am between my first and second semesters of graduate school for double Masters degrees and although my life will probably change dramatically over this next year, and I hope that it does in a very positive way, I think that this doctoral emphasis could help someone. Helping someone know that they aren’t alone is incredibly important to me. The emphasis is trauma following death.

Once January ends, it will be six deaths in seven years. I was batting par for the course there for a while, but this past year has been (knock on inanimate object) the best. My first without a major traumatic life experience since 2005. Well, I moved across the country and started grad school. That is a different version of trauma all together. From my oral history class, I learned more about how to cope with and deal with trauma in real-time. That was definitely not a part of the intended learning outcomes of the course, but life experience being what it is, it happened. We read a lot about people in traumatic situations, and I am beginning to see it with a bit more of a clinical eye. Not with an eye that doesn’t care, but everyone goes through trauma eventually.

Whether or not a person believes in the Afterlife, this is still a case where it’s one of the hardest things that a person can go through. Some people never leave the state of trauma that happens with death, and some eventually find their way out of it. Seeing the quantity and sheer size of disasters these days, knowing how to deal with post-mortem trauma in survivors is important. I have no plans of becoming a psychologist, but I do plan to give some degree of relevancy and “Your life matters” to the people who get left. As universal as family and food, so is death. I also do taxes. 🙂

Relevancy when it comes to death is something that I prefer to establish through historical context. I don’t know whether that many people would see things the way that I do. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I have a unique perspective given my experiences in family history work, and a sincere love of all things old. Okay, that doesn’t make me unique. Add training and education, and I may still not be unique. However, it’s not every day that a person decides to take on the task of learning how people deal with after-effects of death in a historical context. At least, I’ve never heard of it before. I want to really become a genealogy doctor, able to help anyone who needs to know a given resource. While I consider this, I also know that I’m great at starting things. It just takes me a long time to finish them, especially to finish them well.

It concerns me how studying this topic could negatively impact my future family life. The other side is that it could give my family members a  unique perspective contributing to positive reactions, and defying the “bad fear” of death. I prefer that my children some day not have “death wishes” or that they don’t act to hasten an untimely demise, but instead never to fear death. I don’t. It’s a time for going home, but it’s not yet. You work hard in this life and you make sure that you have the relationship with God where you understand that His grace saves. That never means that you stop working hard, helping others, etc. It means that you step it up a notch and remember where that grace comes from, particularly intent on moving forward, on progression and helping make good things happen. Never step on anyone else’s agency, but help channel influence in positive directions.

There’s also an app that I am trying to figure out how to make, or to make an “appative” as it were. (App as an additive to already-existing software or freeware= appative.) Working with existing technology to make something that works better. There are things that I need to make happen, and I hope that I can do this, or find a way of making things work properly.

Yours truly,

The Genealogy Doctor