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The F Stops Here

Jeanne Houston
Jeanne Houston is the author of Farewell to Manzanar (1973, Houghton Mifflin: Boston), a memoir of her experiences in the Japanese-American internment camps. She is currently working on the novel Firehorse Woman.

Jeanne Houston

'First of all, I plan on having many, many good years left to create," warns Jeanne Houston. The author knows too well the power of words and their ability to foretell the future. For that reason, she's a little nervous about discussing her final arrangements but admits to hoping they will be more for an occasion of celebration than sadness.

Not a big one for burial, Houston would like to be cremated, her ashes then scattered over the ocean. But not our conveniently located ocean here by Santa Cruz.

"Hawaii," Houston declares for her ashes' final resting place. It is the birthplace of Houston's mother, so if she had her druthers, the celebrants/mourners would be flown to Hawaii for a big party on the beach to celebrate the author's onward journey.

Houston would love for the celestial sayonara to be a "sensory experience--the beautiful smell of flowers, the sound of slide key guitar--the senses are important," she says. Everyone would wear leis (which they would later throw in the ocean), and the food, as well as the music, would be eclectic.

And when the final lei sinks and the sun drops into the sea, Houston imagines herself being reincarnated. "But I don't believe it's going to be my body on the other side," she says. "What I would like it to be on the other side is a consciousness of light and peace and love."

There is logic to the turning and returning, Houston figures. "Our purpose is to become more refined energy--we're all working toward that."

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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