March, A Month To Spring Forward, Still

The harbingers of spring continue this month, with azaleas, daffodils, and forsythia in full bloom, and maples, alders, and dogwood trees beginning to bud out. We have a mallard couple visiting our pond and a blush of robins spreads over the front field bobbing for worms.

Work: This month I’m poring over a ship manifest & port of arrival form, carbon copies of one great-aunt’s letters from the 1930s, and research on Battle Creek College, Michigan and the Montefiori Hospital in the Bronx, NYC. All that to help me reconstruct the story of how another great-aunt, Silvia (Sirvart) Haigazn, came to America in 1928, after surviving the Armenian Genocide, and subsequently established a new life for herself here. My struggles with this particular section are threefold.

First, balancing the research and the writing. There is the delight in finding out new information about Silvia and facts about where she went to school and worked. Most of this information, while personally gratifying, will never be used in the book, and I have to limit the research time in order to keep writing. Secondly, making choices about story, structure, and voice. I need to take my Tante Silvia’s situation and shape that material into a story that will be compelling to a disinterested reader. But which story, highlighted by which elements of her life? In what form? In what kind of voice? Each of these components of craft influence the others and I’m looking for the best match. And thirdly, how much of this book is biography versus memoir? In other words, how much is the narrator also developed as a character in this section? Do I interject related memories and events from the future? Or stay firmly in the late 1920s and early 1930s? I don’t know yet.

All of which is to say I need to not get bogged down in these challenges but keep writing so the story, structure, and voice can reveal themselves more fully which in turn will make clear what research is required and how much of myself needs to be present.

What challenges have you been facing in your creative work? To me, creative work includes, among many others, such activities as gardening, cooking, quilting, etc. Do you have strategies for dealing with those challenges?

Me and Tante Silvia, circa mid-1970s

Wonder: Most people want to stop falling back and springing forward, temporally speaking. So why, you may wonder, did we yet again this month move the clocks forward? In 2019, the Washington State legislature passed a bill to remain year round on Daylight Savings Time. But to do so requires the approval of the federal government, which hasn’t taken action. The last two years a bipartisan group of  Washington State senators put forth a bill to have the state remain on Standard Time, which doesn’t require the approval of the federal government. I’m team Standard Time and was disappointed to learn that the bill never made it out of committee. For more on my year-round time preference, check out my March 9th Facebook post.

How do you feel about the time changes—love, hate, or indifferent? Which time do you prefer to remain on, or do you enjoy the shifting of the clocks?

Windows: These hellebores are a philosophical bunch of navel gazers with beautiful faces not easily seen.


  1. Donna

    I hope you enjoy the research phase as much as I do. I see family resemblance with Barry and your Aunt. Good luck with your project. P.S. I prefer Daylight Savings.

    • Laura Rink

      I have mixed feelings about research, sometimes a pleasure, other times a slog. Thanks for reading!

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