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Writing

Outlining

On the state park trail.

I spent a fair amount of Tuesday revisiting the outline of my autobiography. It quickly came into perspective. There will be multiple sections with each drawing on different parts of my life story.

After the dedication and introduction I currently see the following parts.

Part I: Background

It will begin with four historical pieces about Lincoln County, Minnesota; the area around LaSalle, Illinois; Wise County, Virginia; and Davenport, Iowa in 1951. I spent the most time last winter drafting these sections. They each need more work.

Part II: Main Narrative

Next will be a high level narrative of my life from birth until the present. In it I’ll cover the main stories on a time line, from my perspective. I’ll leave out personal information of people who are still living.

This part is subdivided into sections: 1. From earliest memories, moving to Madison Street, school, and my eleven-year residence at the American Foursquare in Northwest Davenport. 2. Begins with college, a trip to Europe in 1974, military service, moving to Iowa City, graduate school, and then marriage. 3. I begin what would become a career in transportation and logistics in 1984. I follow my career from the move to Cedar Rapids; to Merrillville, Indiana; and then back to Big Grove Township where we now live. 4. Next comes our daughter finishing grade and high school, going to college, and then moving from Iowa. 5. Finally, there is empty nest life, community engagement, my first retirement from transportation and logistics, continuing work until the coronavirus pandemic, and the post-work life in which I now find myself. The idea of these sections is to lay out the bare bones of how I spent my life. To research and get the story down.

Part III: Collected Writing

The last part of the autobiography will be a collection of my writing from letters to the editor beginning in 1974, and including resumes, poetry, published writing, journal writing, newspaper writing, and blog writing. The focus will be to reduce the quantity of written work to inform the narrative presented in the second section.

The clarity that came from spending time away from writing as I worked on the garden was a welcome surprise. The outline is not finished. A few days work remains and I’m ready to do it. After that it’s back to writing.

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