A serial memoir by Jean Fogelberg

I didn’t wake up and decide to write a book one day, you know. Fate beat me over the head with stories until I submitted. Here’s what happened...

All the Time in the World

The Making of a Serial Memoir


In the winter of 2003, Dan was 52 years old and making plans for his eventual retirement. He wanted to live in Santa Fe and get back to painting. He wanted to travel Europe and spend more time in Maine, sailing and getting into digital photography. For all of that to happen, he would have to sell his 600-acre ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Running the ranch took a lot of time and money, and to pay the bills, Dan toured for months every year. It was time to downsize.

      The ranch went on the market in the spring of 2004 and then, a few months later, Dan was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. We decided to seek treatment in Boston, just five hours from the home we were building in Maine. 

     We never lost hope that we would defeat the cancer, but the prognosis wasn’t good; the odds were against us. So, Dan began hedging his bets. 

      During that first winter in Maine, we set about recording his memories. On nights when he was in the mood, we would take our glasses of wine to his study and sit on the leather couch. While Dan stoked the fire, I set up the MiniDisc recorder and microphone. At the start of each session, I reviewed my notes and told Dan where we had left off. He would take it from there. If we got to the end of a section, and I remembered something, I’d say, “What about the story you told me about….” and off he’d go. When he was satisfied that we’d covered everything, we put the tapes in a safe place.

      He finished his last studio album, Love in Time, and asked me to release it after he was gone. Then, between trips to Massachusetts General Hospital for tests, treatments and check-ups, Dan sailed, skied, and delved into digital photography and Photoshop.

​           In October of 2007, after a two-week cruise aboard Dan's sailboat, Minstrel, we returned her to her mooring in the cove in time for football season. Dan died two months later, at home in Maine, on December 16th.

Dan on Minstrel
Jean on Minstrel, by Dan

The Making of a Serial Memoir

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I watched as musicians from around the world posted home performance videos online to help break the tedium of self-isolation for people. I wanted to contribute something myself, but I hadn't performed in ten years and was much too rusty. However, I was 300 pages into a memoir I'd started in 2013; I could pull my Dan stories out and share them with his fans. 
   Most of the book was about my early life and my years performing in bands; I'd only just started to write about my time with Dan. But there were enough chapters to last a few months, and by then the virus would be under control, right?

     In April of 2020 I began posting a chapter every Friday night, here on the website that Dan and I'd started together in 1999. Visits to the site increased 1,732 percent. After reading the latest chapter, many visitors explored other pages on the website. Long-time fans were listening to the old CDs with a new understanding, now that they were hearing the stories behind the songs. I began getting messages from old fans and new fans; it was a legacy-keeper’s dream come true.


     On June 27, after running out of Dan chapters, I posted an update:


     So here we are, twelve chapters in, with no idea when this pandemic will end. After each new chapter I get emails and Facebook comments, entreating me to continue. I’m intrigued with the serial novel concept, so I’ve decided to keep going and see where this leads. The format of my memoir will have to change, and I’m not exactly sure how, so I’m going to take it one chapter at a time.
   It’s going to be a challenge, writing new chapters with a weekly deadline, but I’ve made it through bigger challenges and each one has opened a new door. If I hadn’t gone through the madness at the ranch, I wouldn’t have started this book. If the pandemic hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you now. I hope each story will be a new color; every word a brushstroke, until you have a portrait of Dan in your mind full of feeling, depth and texture.

Please open the next door and continue on this journey with me.


Jean Fogelberg


Posted June 27th. 2020 Copyright ©Jean Fogelberg 2020