01. October 2015 · Comments Off on Navigation · Categories: NMM.Trajectory.

When I began this memoir in 2013 I had no clear plan for how I would proceed.    On my opening page, The Big Picture, I describe what pushed me to even attempt such a daunting project.

After my son went off to school, I thought it was time to find out more about my mother’s world.   Researching and writing a novel based on her time and culture would be a good way to do it.

When I told my husband that I wanted to write a novel he did what he could to help.   He built me a self-sufficient apartment above our garage with bookshelves lining the walls.  It had its own entrance in the yard.  It was a room of my own.


4 R

Back of house with studio above garage at far right


After years of research and several abandoned starts, I still had not produced anything like a novel.    I was getting impatient with myself.

My husband says don’t worry about it.  You have no datelines.  The world is not waiting for your novel.  You are doing what you always liked anyway, traveling and talking with new people, fiddling with your computer and reading several books at a time all over the house.

Then he says I know writers.   You are not a writer.   You are a lover.

I saw instantly that he knew what he was talking about.

I am a lover of the present moment.   I will stay with the moment.  I will sometimes get carried away in the moment wherever it takes me.

When my mother was on her deathbed she said to my older sister take care of Doreen because she is wild.  I was only eight years old then but I sensed that my mother knew this about me.

Very early on, I left my camera at home when I traveled.  I found that taking pictures often interfered with the moment.   I wanted to be there rather than record it.

Still I am grateful that other people enjoyed taking pictures and shared them with me.  Often the pictures remind me of happy things I have forgotten.  However, no picture measures up to my memory of being there.

I did not feel compelled to write, and certainly not about reincarnation, until the events I describe on my opening page, The Big Picture.


How to start?  I decide to simply tell my life story from the beginning, chronologically as I remember it, and see what comes.

The memories of my childhood just pour out and all but write themselves up to and including my first year in the United States.

Then it becomes complicated.   To tell the true larger story I realize that I have to write in themes.

Beginning with the segment (Category) “Staying Alive” that is what I do.

If you read the subsequent Categories from the top down you will still notice a certain order but it is not so much chronological as re-enforcing a few central themes.  Sometimes I repeat and retell events in a new context.   That is how my memory actually works.

Eventually, hopefully, these themes and patterns also become clear to those of you who are still reading.

This is the best I can do by way of a Site Navigation map.


The title of this category, “Trajectory” sums up the flight plan, so to speak, that brought me to my husband, an essential partner in my journey.

The psychic said that in this lifetime I was to learn two things, wealth and service.   That is just how it happened.

It was through work, specifically service jobs that led to my meeting my husband.

I was born in a time and place in colonial Asia to a family with old money values.  Doing manual chores was never expected of me.  At that time doing manual work for pay was still considered a kind of fall from grace and “loss of face” for families like ours.  It was something to be avoided at all cost.

Unlikely as it was that I would learn service and continue in that path it is exactly what happened, beginning with my arrival in the United States.

I was sixteen years old.

My coming to the United States at age sixteen was extremely unlikely.  But the psychic also said that my life is in sixteen year cycles (see “The Reading”).   That also turned out to be accurate.

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