Together, Alone

Study Questions

  1. I had trouble deciding where to start this memoir. I considered these options: leaving the university and beginning full-time writing; meeting Bill; our marriage. I chose to begin it when we decided we would live at Meadow Knoll. Does that choice feel right to you? Do the flashbacks in the first chapter adequately fill you in on the previous lifestory?

  2. I used my journals as a starting point for each chapter. How did you feel about that strategy?

  3. I worried a lot about the two "halves" of the book: the chapters at Meadow Knoll and the chapters at Lebh Shomea. I hoped that the book wouldn't feel as if it were broken in the middle! How do you feel about that? Did it work for you?

  4. There's a lot of history in Chapters 13 and 14. Were you bored with that? Do you think it added to the experience of the place? (I was concerned that some might feel that it slowed the narrative, but I felt it was essential to the story of the ranch.)

  5. There are other people's stories embedded in my story, as there is in most memoirs. Which of them interested you the most?

  6. My favorite chapter is Chapter 17, which is about fences, boundaries, parameters, and our sense of place. I'd love to talk more about this chapter when we meet, so please reread it if you have time.

  7. What's your favorite chapter?

  8. I collect quotations and love to use them, because I enjoy playing with the way one text intersects and illuminates another. My favorite quote is at the beginning of Chapter 18. Bill and I used Wendell Berry's words in our wedding ceremony, so it has a special meaning for me. What's your favorite, in this book? Why?

  9. What question do you have for me? I'd like to be able to answer at least one from each of you, so come prepared!