I’m back from hiatus. Just got busy and didn’t take time for my personal writing—which is not a good thing!

My work with the book is finished. On Friday I handed over my comments on the printer’s sample copy—the author can now get ready to order his print run. Woo, hoo!

I’ve been working with him on his project for a few months short of two years. It’s a joy when you can get to know an author and enjoy working with him, as well as enjoy doing the work on his book.

My yoga instructor, Dr. Dennie Dorall, believes in the philosophy of helping people with their professional work, as well as with their physical and emotional health. Thanks to her, I got a call from another one of her students who wanted help formatting his family history book, as well as some editing and coaching throughout the process. We met—and the rest is part of our histories now!

I know this will sound a little bit “out there,” but soon after our first meeting, I had a dream where one of those whose story would be in the book asked me to help get his story out there. I didn’t know but the bare bones of just a few of those stories at that point, so I don’t know why the name “John” stuck out enough for me to remember in a dream—other than that is a really common name in both the family and throughout the English-speaking world.

Since the family’s story spanned 1,000 years, the author only had rudimentary information about many of the earlier family members. He realized that although he would be using the existing facts from documentation, as well as information from family tradition, in order to create true personalities for each person, we would need to fictionalize some dialogue and incidents that could have been typical for a person who lived in a certain time during a certain place.

That process helped me to get pretty close to those featured family members in each of the twenty chapters. As I worked, I found myself calling each chapter by the person’s name, as in “Today I’m going to work on Robert.” I would immerse myself in the history of the time period to try to imagine how life would have been when Robert lived.

Those 1,000 years were a whole lot of history to verify, so sometimes we worked on removing details that would be too easy to get wrong. Our real goal was to create scenes that were accurate enough so they would not distract from the story’s narrative, but would keep the focus on the featured person of each chapter.

Early on I found out that not all of the family oral traditions have been proven by modern genealogical practices. Were the stories created by someone with a good imagination and a desire to increase social standing or were the documents just missing thanks to age?

We may never know that, but the author strove to come up with good reasons why the documentation may have been missing and to imagine how Henry, the known ancestor, could have come to the New World anyway. There is no doubt he existed, as the records are clear that from his early youth he was in the New World—when the New World’s settlement was still quite young also. Somehow he did get to these shores, even if so far the how has not been proven.

Long after I first heard of this family, I now realize that Henry’s father is supposed to be named John. Records are sketchy, but what did happen to his father? What was John’s story? We’ll probably never know, but I hope he’s happy that in the end we didn’t forget the man behind the acknowledged progenitor of ten generations—so far.

Now that the book is part of my history, what will I write on the clean slate of my tomorrows?