ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD
A serial memoir by Jean Fogelberg
I didn’t wake up and decide to write a book one day, you know. Fate beat me over the head with stories until I submitted. Here’s what happened...
All the Time in the World
The Making of a Serial Memoir
In the winter of 2003, Dan was 52 years old and planning for a future where he would tour less and have fewer responsibilities. He wanted to live in Santa Fe and get back to painting. He wanted to spend more time in Maine, sailing and getting into digital photography. For all of that to happen, he would have to sell his 600-acre ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Running the ranch took a lot of time and money, and to pay the bills, Dan toured for months every year. It was time to downsize.
The ranch went on the market in the spring and then, in June of 2004, Dan was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. After a few referrals and much discussion, we decided to seek treatment in Boston. Leaving the ranch in the hands of the ranch manager and on-site manager, we headed to our home in Maine.
The battle had begun, and it would be our focus for the next three and a half years. Between trips to Massachusetts General Hospital for tests, treatments and check-ups, Dan sailed, skied, delved into digital photography and began learning Photoshop. There were times when life seemed almost normal. We never lost hope that we would defeat the cancer, but the prognosis wasn’t good; the odds were against us. So, Dan began planning for a future where he wouldn’t be here.
He finished his last studio album, Love in Time, and asked me to release it after he was gone. We had been running his website together for five years and he didn’t have to ask; he knew I would continue to maintain it for as long as I could. He hoped his story would be told one day, so that first winter in Maine, we set about recording his memories.
On nights when he was in the mood, we would take our glasses of wine to his study and sit on the leather couch. While Dan stoked the fire, I set up the MiniDisc recorder and microphone. At the start of each session, I reviewed my notes and told Dan where we had left off. He would take it from there. If we got to the end of a section, and I remembered something, I’d say, “What about the story you told me about….” and off he’d go. When he was satisfied that we’d covered everything, we put the tapes in a safe place.
In October of 2007, after a two-week cruise aboard Dan's sailboat, Minstrel, we returned her to her mooring in the cove in time for football season. Dan died two months later, at home in Maine, on December 16th.
The Making of a Serial Memoir
The COVID-19 pandemic changed so much. I watched as musicians from around the world posted home performance videos online, to help break the tedium of self-isolation for people. I wanted to contribute something myself, but I hadn't performed in ten years and was much too rusty. However, I was 300 pages into a memoir I started in 2013; I could pull the Dan stories out and share them with his fans.
Most of the book was about my early life and my years performing in bands; I'd only just started to write about my time with Dan. But there were enough chapters to last a few months, surely by then the virus would be under control. I considered posting the stories on my website, but that might look like I was trying to use Dan’s name to draw traffic to my own work. Instead, I put them here, on DanFogelberg.com, the website we started together in 1999. I began posting in April of 2020, every Friday just after midnight.
Visits to the site went up 1,732 percent. After reading the latest chapter, many visitors explored other pages on our extensive website. Long-time fans were listening to the old CDs with a new understanding, now that they were hearing the stories behind the songs. I began getting email from people who had never heard some of the songs before; old fans, new fans, young fans; it was a legacy-keeper’s dream come true.
June 27, 2020
So here we are, twelve chapters in, with no idea when this pandemic will end. After each new chapter I get emails and Facebook comments, entreating me to continue. I’m intrigued with the serial novel concept, so I’ve decided to keep going and see where this leads. The format of my memoir will have to change, and I’m not exactly sure how, so I’m going to take it one chapter at a time.
It’s going to be a challenge, writing new chapters with a weekly deadline, but I’ve made it through bigger challenges and each one has opened a new door. If I hadn’t gone through the madness at the ranch, I wouldn’t have started this book. If the pandemic hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you now. I hope each story will be a new color; every word a brushstroke, until you have a portrait of Dan in your mind full of feeling, depth and texture.
Please open the next door and continue on this journey with me.
Posted June 27th. 2020 Copyright ©Jean Fogelberg 2020