I have always been a passionate writer and storyteller. I have many books that I have been writing over the years alongside all the other pursuits listed on this website. It is my hope that after I complete the major goals I have set for myself that my next chapter will be devoted to writing. To date I have only completed one and that one even went into the ‘revision’ file. It was my first publication and here is a story about its birthing…
Beginning in 2002 I became inspired to commit to writing a ‘demographic cosmology’ that had been emerging from my observations and experiences as a member of what has been termed ‘Generation X’.
The idea of ‘generational evolution’ formed around how the communication ‘tempo’ and information absorption (rate of intake and output) was faster among my peers and those younger than myself. When engaging with elders I would have to adjust my speed and volume of communication to a slower and more manageable rate/scale. When I would communicate with those younger I would have to increase and it would seem that no matter what the volume of content they would eagerly absorb everything.
I had pondered whether or not the ‘slow down’ rate was a result of ‘aging’ but that theory was canceled out by a significant percentage of elders who did not seem to be limited in the same manner. Those elders who seemed able to keep up the tempo and information exchange rate all had the same thing in common – they were what could be considered ‘movers and shakers’ or ‘boat rockers’…the non-conformists. A pattern begin to emerge and as an armchair astrologer I began to study the ‘generational planet’ Pluto as well as other significant historical ‘markers’ that imprint each generation.
I also studied the demographic works of Strauss and Howe who published the most widely referenced theories of generations. It was from this body of work that I came to the conclusion that the whole subject needed a fresh and updated perspective. I included their overall framework in the beginning of the book for a beginning point of reference and from there introduced an alternative structure that I felt would provide a new map.
When I completed the writing of this book the first thing I did was contact the Grand Governing Council of the American Indian Movement (AIM). I was extremely fortunate to connect with one of the original founders, Clyde Bellecourt. I told him that I had written a book about Generation X and explained to him that I felt that I could not go on with the publishing of this work without the blessings of AIM. He asked me, “what does Generation X have to do with AIM?” I told him that the book included reference to Native American prophecy as well as the American Indian Movement and he would just have to read the book because it is too hard to verbally explain – especially over the phone. He told me to send him a copy and he would take a look at it. I sent him a copy and waited anxiously for a reply. When I finally spoke with him again he had read the book and gave me his approval. We spoke extensively on the phone and he blessed me with sharing stories of his involvement and experiences with A.I.M. and he was pleased with how the book wove indigenous perspectives. I was deeply moved and I asked him if the Council liked it as well. His answer was, “they will”. Clyde Bellecourt’s blessing and assurances that the council would approve took the manuscript to the next stage.I then sought out an elder whom I felt represented the heart of American spirit – Utah Phillips. Utah lived in the town that I grew up in and I had the privilege of meeting him during my activist work. I asked him if he could please review my manuscript and he said he would be happy to. He called me awhile later and asked me to meet him for lunch at a local cafe. During the meeting Utah told me a story about how social myths are born and how cultural influences begin with ‘story’. He then gave me this written review:
I have just read through your book for the third time, twining together loose ends of thoughts, strands of reasoning, and ideas that are new to me – or old but set out in an unfamiliar way. What I hold in my hands here is a near endless source of fascination. It is not an easy book, to its credit. Easy books are either boring or they wear you out into a state of impatience.
In your book you ask of your generations, “What is it that we want?” Your answer: “Lives that have meaning.” As I advance through my 70th year I would say the same thing both now and when I was your age. Not just plain meaning, but a kind of meaning that isn’t always in flux, changing, shifting; the kind of meaning that endures, a bedrock, moral, ethical, aesthetic, you can fall back on when all your compromises spin out of control – that’s the kind of meaning I see you’re trying to get at. Now that is helpful.
You have here a compendium, a kaleidoscope of ideas about how we humans change and share through generations, not viewed through the single lens of good scholarship (although there is no lack of that) but through the multiple lenses of speculation, mythology, astrology, shamanism, numerology, hard logic, shrewd guesswork, common sense and just plain clear thinking. ALL the ways we have used through time to find out more about ourselves and our place.
I have pondered where I fit into the scheme of things you describe. I was born a “Scout” (1935), but didn’t get lost ‘til I hit Korea in the 50’s. Then again, I was born on the cusp of the Pioneers, although I was never noted for my silence. I have always thought of myself as one of the “Keepers”, which is to say I may not have been born yet.
This much I do know. If I’d had your book when I was a kid dodging through the 1940’s wartime and the cold war after, my quest for meaning in my life would have taken some turns more exciting and adventurous than seemed possible at the time. Your book is an opener, eye, mind, and heart.
P.S. I’d like to tell you a story about “Miss American Pie.” I was there when Don wrote it. I’ll call or you call me. Thanks
After I received this amazing blessing I sent the book to press. Self-publishing was just beginning to blossom as an industry so I learned a great deal about promoting a book. I received many great reviews but as the process moved forward I became less satisfied with the final version – it was like the book was still not complete. From the feedback and conversations with readers I was getting more and more insights, ideas, and information that I felt needed to go into the book so I pulled it from print and placed it in the ‘revision’ file. It has been quite a few years since then and I do plan on publishing it again when the universe allots me the time/space I need to sit down and focus on it.