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Emails to my Therapist

Following a Mania

For the last three days, I’ve worked enormous numbers of hours on an unlikely-for-me project: a bit of genealogy that I’m turning into a riveting story of one line of my family: the Tuckers and Woffords. Months ago my mother gave me a folder about her father’s family, a bunch of bits and pieces, and said, “Here you take this.” So I decided to flesh it out, and finally got serious on Saturday and am trying to get it ready to mail to Mom in time for her 87th b’day this weekend.

Inevitably, answering a few questions led me to a few more questions and I took the research back 200 more years, into the late 1500s in England–and quite a number of juicy details. Now I see why people do this. It satisfies the lifelong need created by reading Nancy Drews.

Joseph Campbell advises: “Follow your bliss.” I take that to mean being really committed to the pursuuits that are really important to me; and I’ve structured my life to be able to do that. But this has a sudden fire to it that says: Do this now! Don’t stop! Don’t eat! It’s exciting. And, as of this moment, exhausting.

Have you had this experience? And did it involve chasing ancestors? I’m more measured about writing books and articles, I’ve been doing it so long. It’s nice to feel this kind of fire. Wipe-out refreshing.

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