The amazing, painful, and wonderful thing . . . is that the fleeting individual lives of all living things, including human beings and their stories, have such absolutely significance in the scheme of things.” – from House by Roberta Bondi

I spend my days walking this farm where I am now living, again, with my dad. I wander through leaf-strewn forests. I kick back decades of debris to find brick. I touch the hearths of cabins from the 19th century.

I spend my days digging back through centuries of family – mine, theirs – linking my people back to an Angolan man named Emmanuel, trying to link their people back to the gravestones I can touch but they don’t even know exist.

I am an archaeologist with no training, a genealogist with only digital tools. I am writing a book.

The whole shape of this thing seems unwieldy to me, like one of those cloud monsters from the old Star Trek. I can’t quite get hold of it, but that’s exciting. If this was too easy, it would be worth doing.

I have no idea where this project is going; I have no idea of structure or shape or chapters. I have no idea where I will be when it’s done. But I feel with all of myself that this is the right journey for me. I’ll keep you posted on the trip.

Slave Chimney

If you’d like to stay up to date on my research and writing for this project, I’ll be posting tidbits on Facebook and Twitter. I’d love to “see” you there, too.