I have hit a writer's block with Letters from Marilyn this past month.
Even now, I'm struggling with the direction of today's update. I think the root of the problem is that I'm realizing how very close I am to being done reading all of the letters. The feeling equates to finishing the last book in your favorite series. Sure, you can reread them, but it's not quite the same when you know that there isn't going to be another book. And in this case, it means there is nothing more from Marilyn.
Between writing query letters and researching literary agents, I have been overwhelmed with the magnitude of how much I still need to accomplish if I want to see this in print someday. Once I finish reading the remaining 65 pages of condolence letters, I will need to focus on the next step: a complete draft. And with that comes a lot more research, another trip to Augsburg to hopefully meet with the archives department, and more query letters to write.
But all that being said, it is an exciting unknown ahead. I know I've said it before, but thank you readers. Your support, messages of encouragement, comments, and shares have meant the world to me. Because of your outreach, these posts have had thousands of views. And whether this project sees print someday or not, it is great to know that this story has touched many. After all, that is all we can ask for as writers: that our stories have reached you.
Moving forward, these posts will likely start to lack organization and a clear timeline (my editing process gets a little insane sometimes). I'll do my best to explain what's happening as I continue to draft and edit. But today, I have some more snippets for you from the condolence letters sent to Jennie and her family after M's passing.
October 22, 1953 from Gladys Strommen: I think it's marvelous the way you folks have taken this great loss in Marilyn. Even still I have her and you folks on my mind a great deal. We still remember you in our prayers that you might be given strength and understanding. I know that in my life it has made a change. I realize now how close we are to eternity and that each day could be my last. I'm sure we all hate to think that this is our last day for we all feel that we have a duty to perform here on earth, but yet we must face the reality that that day must come to us all sooner or later.
October 25, 1953 from Arlene Olson: On Friday nite was the choral banquet with the variety show afterwards. The choral banquet this year was very nice and naturally I couldn't help but think of Marilyn, because I know if she had been here she would have sat beside me. Sateren gave such a beautiful tribute to "Oppie" and Marilyn. I can't put down exactly what he said but some of his main things were that he held Marilyn to be one of the best choir members and how she was really like a flower just coming into full bloom. Then he said that he had talked with another fellow and this fellow had said that this was probably one way in which the power of God could be released in the choir. It has an effect on all the choir members and I know will be more so when we go on tour. Sateren stated it so beautifully.
October 26, 1953 from Joan Munson: Betty had all the girls and Tony, Harvey, etc. over for our regular Sunday night supper. It seemed so nice to be together again, and yet you don't realize how much we missed Marilyn. There always seemed to be so much unity in our interests and backgrounds. You might almost think of us as one big "home." And Marilyn was a big part of our home. We're all thankful that our parents raised us with such a wonderful appreciation of the simple and wonderful fun in life - which we had so much of. We have no memories to be afraid of - only many happy memories. You'll be glad to hear that Audrey has a recording of Marilyn's singing - and she is having her mother mail it to me. Let's all hope it is still ok!And that is all today. More to come soon!