About the Editors
We are producing an evocative anthology of memoirs written by women who lived through the amazing and exciting era of the 60s and 70s:
Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s
What an awakening time we all lived through: changes in our identity, awareness of our bodies, and expansive possibilities for self-development that unfolded during those years.
During the 60s and 70s we explored new avenues closed to most women in previous generations. There was an explosion of creativity, doors opening, glass ceilings shattered, and the flowering of a new self-image that shaped who we are today.
The editors of this anthology—Amber, Kate, and Linda Joy—like you, recall life-changing experiences that led us to increased independence, self-awareness, and transformation. These years affected our relationships, our careers, our roles in a society, our inner lives and left a legacy.
For many of us, certain memories still glow with power in how they changed us—key moments that unlocked doors to a new consciousness: experiences with art, poetry, music, books, politics, love, and dance—and so much more.
Times They Were A-Changing is a forum where you can share the important stories of those times in your life. Tell us yours!
I arrived in San Francisco in the summer of 1961 as a 20-year-old woman with a thirst for adventure and a love of literature, enrolled at San Francisco State. I became smitten with the coffee houses, poetry readings and jazz clubs in North Beach, an exciting bohemian culture. I enjoyed its pervasive freedom and took part in edgy aspects of the time, like having a biker boyfriend who rode with the Hell’s Angels before that outlaw gang was “cool.”
As the Haight Ashbury scene came to dominate the City with rock music, psychedelics, and runaways, political movements filled the streets—I clocked many miles in marches for civil rights and against the war. In the mid-60s I taught English in an inner city school, finding overcrowded and deplorable conditions; faced racial tensions and violent clashes. Returning to graduate school at UC-Berkeley in 69-70, I was just in time to experience campus shutdowns and the haze of tear gas as the National Guard and riot police fought student protesters.
The high-flying emotions of the 60s gave way to the inner journeys of the 70s and I fully engaged in the disciplines of the SF human potential movement: est, self-actualization, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, finding along with thousands of others new dimensions of the self without drugs. For me this was a joyful time of personal exploration and empowerment. I began to build on the innovative energy of the 60s and discover my unique path. By 1979, I’d received a grant to teach storytelling to teachers in California and share the oral tradition, the creative voice of many cultures—a culmination of the authenticity that the 60s demanded and the entrepreneurship that the 70s developed. For more information about my current work, visit my website: www.katefarrell.net
Linda Joy Myers
I was jealous of all that was going on in San Francisco, having spent the sixties either in Oklahoma or Illinois. Things moved slowly there, racist ideas abounded, and the conservatives were scary in their ideas of social control, hatred of change, and a virulent law’n order stance against anyone different, against new ideas and people who didn’t toe the line. It was considered a big deal in Champaign-Urbana in 1967 to host a poetry reading by candlelight and read “Howl” to the tune of a trumpet player blasting away, serving chianti in a jug with the basket weave that later would turn into a cool candleholder. My best (white) friend was married to a black man, and there I learned about what people went through behind the scenes and in every day life.
It was a big deal to get to one of the anti-war marches on Washington D.C. by bus, though nothing outstanding happened–except we felt the energy of the movement. It was an era of growth and hope and deep grief–and of course the idealism of youth. I was 19 when JFK was assassinated, and that day all the leaves fell off the trees in Norman, Oklahoma. In 1968 within 8 weeks of each other, Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, and the dreams for a better world began to die. Yet, in the 70s, I discovered the world of art, writing, journaling, and women’s voices, which has lead me here today. What a time! I’m working on my own snippets of that era–it was so complex! Visit my websites: www.namw.org www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
Amber Lea Starfire
I strode into my teens marching against the Vietnam War, dancing to psychedelic lights at the Fillmore in San Francisco, turning on, and tuning in to the roar of free love and burgeoning feminine voices everywhere. In the thick of unprecedented social change, communal living, and back to the land movements, life was like a confusing smorgasbord in a world where girls were expected to get married, have children, and take care of their husbands. Idealistic by nature, I hopped on board the hippie train, though I had no idea what it meant or where it was going. All I knew was that youth were taking over the world, and I was one of them!
Nevertheless, I married young—in 1973, the year the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision made headlines, the oil embargo caused gas lines to snake around the block, and the Vietnam War officially ended. My long-haired husband and I got into our sky blue Chevrolet Suburban and headed north, to a commune on the coast of Oregon. There, I lost my voice to the Jesus Freak movement, family, and the usual life responsibilities.
Through it all, I wrote in my journals, and later rediscovered my voice through writing and education, going back to school as a single parent to earn my B.S. from USF, an MA from Stanford, and—to be completed this year—my MFA in Creative Writing. Now, as an author, editor, & teacher, my passion is helping others tell their stories. For more information and to view a more conventional sort of bio, visit my website: www.writingthroughlife.com.