A letter correspondence over many years between Aileen and her best friend from childhood Dawn was collated into a book, in the order the letters were sent.
Mixed in to the letters were long essays about her life on the road which she asked Dawn to keep safe encase she ever wrote enough that she could start knocking it into an autobiography.
As I was reading it, I found her experiences of the time she lived through so fascinating that I wanted to save each one and see it in perspective to her other memories in the timeline of her life.
So that’s what I’ve done here. And if it’s useful in the future to anyone’s creative pursuits, like writing non-fiction plays or graphic novels, or reflections on her life, or the 70s, or even fictional stories with characters based on Aileen, then all the better.
The myopic reason it resonated with me is the very tenuous comparison I saw between myself and Aileen, in that she had set off on her travels with the hope of doing some psychological healing from the circle she was stuck moving in where she grew up. And that this was a very romanticized road to take at the time, although I don’t think Aileen bought into any of that, as she was simply homeless from the age of 13 and afraid of freezing to death, so needed to get down south to Florida anyway, but she loved the music and cherished every commune she stayed at for the people who attempted a new more compassionate way of relating to one another.
So for me that was activist circles, and it left me with the understanding that you don’t get a choice in the strange situational reasons that different people will be alienated from society enough to join this or that campaign, but you can make the best of the journey all the same.
I’ll include a forward by Hunter S Thompson on the hippie counter-culture for this reason anyway. Then the rest is all Aileen.
Finally here are Aileen’s words on her attempts to write this autobiography from jail:
This is being done like Sound off. But of-course like I said. Real brief . . . Hitting area’s most important. Like looks and character, on Mom, Dad, Lori, Barry, Keith, then to me, and the life I lead. Thats going to be really hard to brief. You know how much I’ve seen!? Geez! . . . But Ill get through. And must before I should die soon . . .
I am really close to God. Read the Bible three times all the way through. And in even my young and road days I got into God—(Jesus) and my heart was as good then it as it is now. Even though I became a pro in being a prostitute . . . I still believed on the Road anyway, and always willing to give a helping hand to anyone, “even strangers,”because of my experiences from my young days and how I was treated. I cannot elaborate how many times sex was forced upon me . . . But when I do get some time down the road a book out. It is going to be about my life, not these crimes. And how people should “NOT” treat each other like this . . .
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