Thematic connections appear in pieces written by people half a globe away from each other. Each piece reminds us we are not alone.
I really wrote this for my family—because it felt a little selfish hoarding these incredible letters, and I wanted them to know and understand the love between our grandparents.
I’ve kept a journal since 1982, and I still write in it. I enjoy looking back at some of the old journals and remembering many things that I had forgotten, funny sayings from the grandchildren, trips that we took. We traveled a lot. I’d forgotten the details, and I’m enjoying reading those now and reminiscing all by myself.
When I began writing “The Blue Cardboard Box,” I thought first about my father and all he had never learned about his birth family. Quickly, though, my focus shifted to my biological grandmother, Velma Gasteyer, and to the devastating combination of grief and mental illness which led to her sad existence (more than half her life) in an asylum.
“When I write in the piece about staring at the picture for so long that I can feel the ridges of the chair against my thumb, and can hear the cupboard door open, I’m telling the truth. That was a gift the narrative gave me—that I could so completely reenter that photograph and be present with my big brothers.”
“[A]t its beginnings, “Climbing the Crooked Trails” was for an audience of visitors to an art gallery. As I went on with the material, and got deeper into my reading of the letters and documents, I realized that my reaction to what I was reading was potentially interesting.”
“I’ve long wanted to write down or otherwise record some sort of family history for my children, who are growing up with little contact with my extended family.”
“[W]riting memoir is my preferred way to explore universal themes, I try at all times to keep foremost in my mind the concept of universal readers, persons unknown to me who I hope will read my stories and find in them something of value as they examine their own histories and contemplate what might come next.”
Gloria DiFulvio: “I write as a way to make sense of and process the many thoughts that swirl around my head and my heart. I seek to find words for the intangible thoughts often just out of reach, but popping up every now and again wanting to be heard.”
“‘New Life’ is part of a larger project in which I tell my grandmother’s emigration story from letters and other primary sources. I am writing this project for my grandchildren so that they might have a vision of the huge commitment it is to leave one’s homeland…”