Let the Months be your guide

The start of the school year has me thinking about continuity. That ol' chestnut - the more things change, the more they stay the same. We brought our own daughter to her first day of First Grade this morning much like families all across the country are doing or recently have done. So goes this time of year. For me, continuity is a touchstone not only of these special family moments but the overall structure of Pelting Out. I'm using a timeline that extends across decades, but not in anything like a yearly chronological sense of time. Instead, I'm hanging everything off an eternal monthly calendar. What happens in September, stays in September - whether we're talking 1917 or 2011. That, for me, has allowed narrative threads to be strung between what would otherwise be hard to connect periods of history. When I frame my thinking using the months of the year, I can consider what my Grandfather Harry might have thought on my family's then nearly 40-year-old homestead in northern Wisconsin in September of 1917. Then, just maybe, I can present the parallel with what's going on as I enjoy Seattle's beautiful extended summer. Much like what I experienced for the first time when I arrived here for graduate school nearly 20 years ago. The trick will be to do that over the whole arc I've set up for Pelting Out. Narrative non-fiction is, after all, an exercise in storytelling that requires structure and (hopefully) a unique point of view.

Until the next page turns...I hope you saw your own child skipping into the classroom this morning.