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Small Moments in Time: Memories of Lassen County

Edited by Candace Toft

     Collecting and writing down local stories has been a joyous experience.   Made possible by a California Council for the Humanities grant and Lassen Comunity College Foundation, this anthology has been embraced by the comunity.

     The preface describes the process as well as the product.


     The reader of this collection will travel from the mountians to the desert, from Susanville to Eagle Lake to Westwood to Standish to Honey Lake to Milford to Termo to Janesville to Herlong to Ravendale.   Our stories take place on ranches, farms, tribal campgrounds, lakes and rivers, in towns, forests, logging mills, schools - even radio towers - and date from as early as 1915 to as late as last summer.

     The authors may be fairly characterized as good people writing in their own voices about memorable moments in their lives. The result is a collection of 132 vivid snapshots taken in very different times and places.   While most of the storytellers have grown up in Lassen County, a few are relative newcomers and two write about their experiences as yearly summer vistors.   The oldest storyteller is 98, and the youngest, 22.

     The book is not intended to be a history of Lassen County; others, notably Tim Purdy and Robert Amesbury, have complies a thorough recounting of recorded public events.   The reader will not find embodied in these stories a balanced political or cultural view of the county, nor a comprehensive account of past and present residents.

     Simply state, Small Moments in Time: Memories of Lassen County was written by people who responded to a general request for local stories.   Some saw an article in the Lassen County Time, the Susanville Indian Rancheria newsletter or the Lassen County Arts Council newsletter, while others heard a radio interview, picked up a flyer or learned of the project by word of mouth.   Several were contacted personally when they were recommended as having "a good story," and many participated in one of the three classes established by the project, during which participants shared their anecdotes and learned to write them down as stories.

     A variety of writing genres was encouraged; accordingly, the collection includes poetry, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and even fictional stories with Lassen County settings.   A few of the storytellers have published work elsewhere.

     The sponsors of the project do not attest to the veracity of every storyteller, but most of the pieces have been read by others and confirmed as representing an event or time in Lassen County.   We know that many of the tales have been told and retold in families and among friends and are as true as the the storytellers beleive them to be.

     There was no attempt to censor negative aspects of some stories.   What you will find here is Lassen County in all its wonder and with some of its warts.

     When stories were read aloud during classes, spontaneous applause would often break out.   We believe the reader will have the same reaction.

- Candace Toft, Project Director

Candace's Home Awards and Background

Released 2009 Released May 2010
Small Moments in Time: Memories of Lassen County The biography of a heavyweight boxer,
Off the Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story
Published Novels An Award-Winning Poetry Chapbook
The Trap
A Mingled Yarn
A Thousand Strands
Poems to My Mother
In the Works An Award-Winning Essay
The Love That Sees Me Through