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Libby's daughter knew that her mother needed help organizing her office full of a lifetime of files, journals, letters, and more. In addition, Libby wanted help selecting writings with which she could work to write an eventual memoir. Her goal seemed insurmountable at times; reaching it, however, became simpler when her daughter found me.

Libby lives across the country, so I flew to her and stayed for a week. Each morning and late afternoon I organized her office, meeting with her in between to review contents of folders, journals, and letters discovered there. Every evening before dinner, we sat down for a recorded interview.

We fit in a walk with the dog or errands many afternoons. Conversations were generally recorded. At night after dinner, I would review the day's work; upload recordings and send them (digitally) to the transcriber; then work on the next day's interview questions.

On my last day, I spent several hours making copies of journal passages, other selected writings, and articles and letters found in files. While together, Libby and I discussed the chronological and thematic categories that would make sense for these collected works.

Upon my return home, I organized the writings collected from her office, and culled the transcripts for passages worth keeping as source material for her memoirs. This lifetime of writings and reminiscences I organized chronologically and thematically for Libby. Some of the pieces I collected were essays and poems Libby had written over the years. Among these were some in need of editing; I worked on editing them, always in close touch with Libby via email. These I collected for publication in a book of selected poems and essays, with photos.

A file box full of Libby's writings and excerpted interviews, source material organized and at her fingertips, ready as a basis for her own writing projects.

Book of selected poems and essays by Libby, with photos.

Libby's own memoirs.


Click here to read excerpts from Libby's book and listen to audio clips from the interviews.

Copyright 2020 Maggie MarkdaSilva