Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Walk Through Falk

If you read my author's note at the end of Bleeding Heart (or if you've been following my blog for a while), you've heard of Falk's Claim: The Life and Death of a Redwood Lumber Town by Jon Humboldt Gates. It's a book I picked up on a whim at the visitor center at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, back when I was editing Bleeding Heart earlier this year - and I'm so grateful I did! The book corrected some of my misconceptions and gave me a better understanding of Falk, helping me fall more and more in love with its fascinating history.

I was going to attend a lecture by Mr. Gates back in October, but the government shutdown postponed the event. Thankfully, the lecture was rescheduled, and I had the chance to attend yesterday with my mom. And just like I was grateful to have happened upon his book, I'm so grateful my mom and I took the time to go and meet him.

 Yes, I gave him a copy of my book! (If only I had thought to bring my copy of his book for him to sign...but at least we got a picture.) 

Mr. Gates' love for the people who were part of the town's history was evident, and I enjoyed hearing what he had to say about his book and all the work that went into it. (Apparently the book went through five different drafts, all of which his mother typed out on a typewriter! Mothers are wonderful, aren't they?) He firmly believes in the importance of primary interviews, hearing the stories from the people who lived them. He noted that the project was "more than a book" to him - it was about getting to know the people who made the town. Apparently "one of the most electric moments" for him while he was working on this book (in the 1980s, I believe) was organizing a luncheon at the Eureka Inn for the people he had interviewed who used to live in the town. A lot of them hadn't seen one another in so long that they were so excited to catch up!

In a similar manner to how Mr. Gates felt about his project, I felt like attending the lecture was about more than the interesting facts I heard. I appreciated seeing and meeting other people who were interested in learning about and preserving the town's history. A few asked questions and chatted back and forth about memories and knowledge during the lecture, which was in one of the old town buildings that had been moved and converted into an education center. And after the lecture, we went outside and walked down the trail (Headwaters Forest Reserve) a ways, enjoying the bright fall sunshine and getting a glimpse at what the town used to be through people who knew about it.


I'm glad to have taken a morning to make a memory (and to have enjoyed yet another walk through Falk). Autumn always seems like the perfect time to do that, doesn't it? And Falk continues to beckon me, just as Virginia City (Nevada) has done. Their histories haunt and allure, awaiting further exploration...

6 comments:

Melanie Backus said...

So glad that you had a great day!

Amber Stokes said...

Melanie,

Aww, that's very sweet of you! Thank you. :)

~Amber

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

How way cool!

Amber Stokes said...

Thank you, Juju!

I'm really glad that we decided to attend and that it worked out for us. It seemed like such a great opportunity - and it was! :)

~Amber

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

WHAT FUN! Meeting an author is a plus of course, but getting to BE there with all that was planned, and in the fall too (My fave season) - what a blessing!
Thanks for sharing this!

Amber Stokes said...

KC (and May!),

It truly was - both fun, and a blessing! :) I love the history of this area, and I'm glad for events like this. (And I think fall is my favorite season, too! There's just something so contemplative and gorgeous about it...)

Thank YOU for reading and commenting!

~Amber