Investigative Reporter I'm Not
I've been trying to track down my grandmother's mental hospital records since last summer.
I called about a dozen hospitals before I found the right one. Then I tracked down about a dozen forms to meet HIPPA requirements for the release of personal medical records. Yesterday I received a thin envelope in the mail from the State Department of Health:
"We do not keep records over 10 years old at this facility; they are stored at the State Archives. I have forwarded your documentation there."
Attached to the letter was a single record with my grandmother's name on it. She'd been committed voluntarily at 34, one year older than I am now. She stayed two weeks before being discharged. This information isn't much, but it's more than I had before.
And now I wait to see what kind of files the State Archives has on my grandmother, assuming the request doesn't get lost or misfiled. God bless investigative reporters. This tracking down records is a lot of work--and I have lots more records to dig up before I can finish my book.
Yesterday at work I dug out my old notecards I'd tucked between the pages of Save the Cat! and hung them on my office wall.
They're not an exact recreation of the Hero's Journey, but they're close. I'm also reading The Writer's Journey, which is both fascinating and helpful. Between the two of these resources, I hope to arrive at a good story arc for the memoir.
I think some of the broader Satanic cult research might fall into the B story. I've been hoping to share some of that research here on the blog, but I've hesitated so far because it feels sensationalist and worlds away from my own life. I can't deny, though, that what I've found is captivating. And I've only scratched the surface.
I'll keep you posted.