Kalamazoo College English Professor Bruce Mills wanted to write a book that told the story of him and his family.
He says that story, told in his book An Archaeology of Yearning had many layers and it was several different stories that combined to tell a larger story of his family. The artifacts, or memories, need to be placed in context.
Mills says the story is his, but he also wanted readers to see things from the standpoint of his son Jacob who is autistic and his daughter Sarah. Mills says his daughter had demands placed on her that are not typical of a sibling. He says she was often in the role of caregiver.
An Archaeology of Yearning is not presented in chronological order. Mills says when he started the book that way, it didn't work. He says that memories don't always come chronologically. Mills says the book's format with stories that come from various times, feels more natural and spiritual to him. He says it's more representative of how people remember important moments in their lives.
The book takes readers through moments such as Jacob being diagnosed with autism and Sarah moving to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2008. And what that separation meant for both of his children. Mills says Yearning has "a special resonance for me." He says it's about reaching for something. Mills says the book is largely about his yearning, but also about Jacob's, and how he wants to communicate.