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Where were you during the tumultuous years of the 60s?

Were you part of the counter-culture? Were you in Vietnam? Were you in the Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s, gay, nationalism, union, working class, ethnic, disability, student, or animal rights movements? Or did you stand on the periphery? Perhaps you were too busy being a “housewife,” raising kids, studying, surviving. Or were you still a child?

And the 70s! Aftermath of the heady and intense events of the 60s! What kind of person did you “grow up” to be and how did the 60s help shape you—or not?

For those of you who were already into your 30s during this period, how did events affect you? Were you involved? What was it like to see your children caught up in the excitement?

I originally hatched the idea for this blog in order to attract the kind of reader who might be drawn to my novel, which is set  in the 70s and concerns a woman’s struggle with the anxiety and the exhilaration of sectarian revolutionary politics, multicultural romance, and sexual hang-ups. But after interviewing a few people, I was bowled over by the diversity and uniqueness, the humor and quirkiness, the wisdom of the stories. I couldn’t wait to develop this project further.

This blog will be an oral history of the 60s and 70s. I am acting as a kind of midwife. Once people start talking, words tumble out of them. It is surprising, the memories that arise—some of them over 50 years old! One memory leads to another and another. Talking seems to generate many experiences mined from the recesses of the past.

At first I requested that people write or talk about what they were doing during those two decades. That turned out to be too broad. So I decided to ask them to choose one or a few meaningful experiences.

After I type up the interviews, I send the first drafts to my interviewees for revision. It’s their story, whatever they want—or don’t want—to say, and however they want to say it. Anonymously or fully credited.

And it’s not a literary endeavor—it’s a blog post.

If you would like to add your voice, please comment to a post or email me (divisionstreetbooks@gmail.com). We can either set up an interview or arrange for you to write up your experiences. The post can be long or short. Just a few sentences is also fine.

Who am I? In the latter part of the 60s I did anti-war organizing in Berlin, Germany. More about that later. As for the 70s, if you read my (not entirely) autobiographical novel, Dancing with Mao and Miguel, you can figure out some of what  I was up to. Or just read the first chapter on my website.

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