Abram's 'Trona, Bloody Trona'

December 17, 2013 

When Paul Abram of North Fork moved to Trona March 23, 1970 to be a representative for the local 35 International Longshore and Wherehouseman's Union (ILWU) and familiarize himself with contracting terms he had no idea what was in store.

Upon moving to the gateway of the Mojave, before Abram knew it, he was fully immersed in one the the state's toughest and bloodiest labor union strikes om recent history.

After years of absence from the since passed over conflict Abram, along with some encouragement from other writers, wrote his second published book called "Trona Bloody Trona" about his experiences and what took place during the struggle for power between the workers and owners.

"Trona, Bloody Trona" is a non-fiction narrative of the brutal and bloody disagreement that took place between the local owners of American Potash and workers who worked for the ILWU. Some would come to call it the bloodiest strike since the Embarcadero Strike of 1934.

Abram compares the happenings to that of the "Grapes of Wrath" and "Salt of the Earth." The book tells of the struggles families and workers faced during their attempt to demand better pay a more reasonable working conditions.

"Trona, Bloody Trona" is the second of Abrams published books following the publication of his first book of poetry called "Love Poems with an Attitude" which was self published in 2012.

Abram says his motivation for writing the story came directly from the people of Trona.

"I was inspired by the people, the life and death struggle...they were broke, they were homeless and they were being kicked out of the town," Abram said.

But it was the same people who inspired him to write the story who made it so difficult to write do to accessibility and memory.

"It was so overwhelming. For years I tried to put it out of mind, it had happened 43 years ago but I decided to make it into a memoir and all of a sudden I was totally emerged in it." Abram said. "I was dealing with third and fourth generation people who were frustrated and angry and they wanted and needed to take over this company and share the profits...the town was making a change from capitalism to socialism."

Abram said he has always enjoyed non-fiction and although it was difficult at times, he truly enjoyed writing the story that focused on true events and had historical significance.

Abram, a community member since 2000, says he enjoys writing almost as much as his other hobbies which include fishing, photography and family.

"Writing is all encompassing and your mind is focused...it gives you a chuckle or a warm feeling depending on where you are in your writing. If something inspires you you enjoy writing about it," Abram said.

Previously Abram had wrote a weekly for the Sierra Star as a freelance reporter and columnist who wrote the weekly article "Catch of the Day."

Abram says some of the most difficult parts of writing a non-fiction, like "Trona, Bloody Trona," is maintaining a flow throughout the book and trying to recall what was previously explained and what had yet to be written.

"Continuity and remembering what was written and not repeating yourself is difficult....going back and finding whether or not I had mentioned things previously or whether or not they needed to be elaborated on. It is difficult to make it interesting and appealing," Abram said.

Abram's words of advice to those thinking about writing a book is the same most writers tend to give. Just do it.

"Write it....you have to just sit down and write it. Finish it. Do it and when it's done pick someone very close and you admire, have them edit it, have them give you an honest opinion. Take notes and then re-write it again and again," Abram said.

"Trona, Bloody Trona" was published July 31, 2013 by The Czerwonka Company and is available online at amazon.com, in Branches Books & Gifts or on his website at paulhenryabram.com.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service