Friday, May 02, 2008

A Long Way Downstream: Update

I have relatives out there who Im sure are wondering what the heck is happening with the Johnson/Winje family history I have promised them. Please don't send the possee just yet! The 350-page book is now at the printers; the printing process takes several weeks, but an end is in sight. And, believe me, I am just as anxious to see it completed as anyone who has been patiently waiting.

The introduction to A Long Way Downstream: The Life and Family of Thibertine Johnson Winje, Norwegian-American Pioneer begins:

There is an old Norwegian emigrant prayer that reads: …The ties that bind me to home fire my courage and strengthen my soul. Should all things perish, fleeting as a shooting star, O God, let not the ties break that bind me to the North. Norwegian emigrants had a strong attachment to the land they left behind, and clung to centuries of beloved folklore that resulted from scratching a living out of the unforgiving Nordic landscape. What caused home loving Norwegians, like Baard and Bertina Johnson, to cross an immense ocean, bid goodbye to family members, often forever, and risk their lives and those of loved ones? How did they summon the courage to leave familiarity and family for uncertain gain? Despite their ties to the homeland, the great migration to America during the 19th century is unrivaled in the history of Norway except for the westward sweeps of conquest and exploration during the Viking Age, a heritage treasured by Norwegians.

I can give any number of excuses for the delay, including the worst winter commute on record, fussing with the sale of two properties, my elderly mother moving in, writing seminars and activities on top of working full time, and now a history column, to boot. I have really tried to keep the delay to a minimum, but have failed. But, as I said, an end is in sight, and your copy or copies should be coming your way soon.

It's time for me to move on with other projects, and I do have a few in mind that deal with either family or Pacific Northwest history: pioneers in Coon Valley, WI, miners/photographers in the Cascade Mountains, Scandinavians and their involvement in Seattle's 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition, and even a fictional novel or two.

Now, I just need to get multiple households and storage units merged into one place so I know where everything is, set up a quiet workspace, cut my commute in half, and find that clone who is off hiding again. She's not very good at cooking or organizing, but at least she lends a fair amount of moral support.


footnoteMaven said...

Oh Mountain Girl:

When do you sleep?

Your introduction is so beautiful - you are without a doubt the most eloquent person I have ever known. (No I'm not old enough to have known Shakespeare, as some might think.)

And no one could ask for a better friend.

Your family is so lucky to have their history in your hands.


Jasia said...

Wow! A 350 page family history! Dare I ask how long it took you to write it?

Chery Kinnick said...

Gracious and Lovely Ladies,

I began researching this branch of the family in 2001, but didn't get really serious about it until a couple of years later. I networked with a lot of relatives and took an academic year-long Genealogy and Family History program at the University of Washington (same as Maven) to make it happen. We really are lucky to have some of the resources for writers that we do in Seattle.

With everything going on, I probably feel 500% more disorganized now than I did then. I'd say at least a quarter of the book is images, so it's not *quite* as much writing as it sounds. The actual writing was done in fits and spurts during any hours I had available (sometimes with my husband watching TV in the background!)

Maven - you are quite the flatterer!

footnoteMaven said...


You are quite the writer!


Lisa / Smallest Leaf said...

How exciting to have this book in the final stages.

Congratulations! I'm sure that it will be enjoyed by many.

Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
100 Years in America