I continue to podcast chapters of my autobiographical novel based on my odyssey backpacking through Western Europe in 1973 at age 18. There appear to be at least a handful of people who are listening to all or some of the episodes, and occasionally I get at least a bit of feedback. Even one or two positive comments are very helpful feedback that I’m on the right track with this.
They say “write what you know”, and I certainly know my own life’s story, and all the remembered details of that story still fill my head along with the emotional charges many of those memories still have for me. Turning those remembered, perhaps even charged details, into a story narrative helps me unload them and lighten my being, and free more of my mind and soul’s “bandwidth” to entertain other new thoughts about imagining and working towards a transformed world. Transforming the world somehow has always been my goal, since I was a little kid, mostly unfocused then, but gaining focus as I lived my life through my youth and adulthood. To boil it down to one sentence, it is a transformation of the world from hierarchies of control to circles of equals, in all facets of human development, community and civilization. (The favored human hierarchy of control for the past 5000 years IMO being patriarchy!)
Telling my own life’s story I see as just another building block toward that larger transformation, a unique building block that only I, having lived it, can provide. And there are certainly fairly unique elements to my developmental story.
I was raised by progressive somewhat libertarian even parents as a “free range” kid, running as much of my life as I possibly could outside of the view and control of my parents and other even well-meaning adults.
After my mom and dad divorced when I was nine, from my early teens I was surrounded by and essentially raised by strong and thoughtful feminist women, including my mom and her circle of friends, what I refer to as my “feminist aunts”, including radical feminist visionary thinkers, whose unorthodox ideas I embraced.
In my later teens I also spent most of my waking hours (that were not commandeered by mandatory schooling) enmeshed in a youth theater community that was as youth-led as is humanly possible. It was so unique that I have not encountered or even heard of such a comparable community since.
Leveraging my free-range development, at age 18 I backpacked through Western Europe for ten weeks on my own, having lost my original travel partner one week into our planned joint journey.
Leveraging my free-range development and lessons learned from my Western Europe odyssey, at age 23 I moved to Los Angeles with just a minimal support network and built a life for myself from a very difficult start. Leveraging my feminist pedigree, my struggle to build a life in L.A. led to me becoming a key community organizer for the L.A. chapter of the National Organization for Women, a rare male type person in local leadership for a “women’s” group.
I bet all of you have unique stories in your own lives! I for one, always wanting to write stories since I learned to read and write at age five, feel a burning need to tell all these unique tales from my own life. And also tell how I struggled to chart my own course within the requirements of conventional schooling, and the adult handlers that always (uncomfortably for me) came with it. Once I’ve gotten all that stuff out of my memory and in print (and audio), I won’t feel the need to hang onto it so fiercely, and can move on to new stories that may also aid in that larger transformation that I’m all about.
If you are interested in my podcast, it should be on most major podcasting sites as “Two Inch Heels”, or you can view and listen to episodes on Podbean at this link. https://cooperzale.podbean.com/