As a Memoir teacher I think alot about memories. I find it fascinating that something can stay hidden in my brain for years and suddenly emerge! Just the other night I was walking Courtney in the evening and I could hear the boom boom of a bass drum from the high school marching band many miles away. This sound immediately transported me to the fall of 1978 when I was entering Andrew Hill High School in San Jose. My sister, Sandy was a senior and had told me how much fun marching band was. It did look fun going to the football games so I thought I would join it. The memory that emerged for me was remembering that I couldn’t march and play at the same time. All I can remember that whole fall of marching band season was counting out my steps and pretending to play my clarinet. It had been years since I recalled that memory!
Another way to get those memories to emerge out of your subconscious is to visit an antique store. Sometimes going to visit these shops will bring back so many memories for you. What are the things you remember about your kitchen growing up or visiting at your grandparents home. What are the smells you remember? Take some time this week to stroll down memory lane and see what you can recall. Use the computer to help you go back in time, there are so many wonderful sites that are standing by ready to share with you and open up those memories for you.
One last tool is to go through your photos with new eyes. Don’t just look at the people in the pictures, but look at the cars, houses, clothes. If you saw the movie, The Help this was a great movie to show you clothes and cars from that era.
Keep your eyes open, you never know when a new memory will emerge and when it does be sure to capture it!
My big sister, Sandy and me!
I have always been a huge believer that every one has a story to tell. As each day I meet more and more people I am always amazed at the lives that we all live. I love asking questions and seeking why people are the way they are. I love to listen to what is being said, and what I find even more fascinating is what is the story that is not being told.
Some of our stories from our youth are painful and the thought of writing it down and “reliving” those memories are enough to stop people in their tracks and never pick up that pen.
My question to you is what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of realizing the truth that you are an amazing person? We all have areas in our lives that are hard to look at. The important aspect of writing is that when you look at your life you will see yourself more clearly.
I do believe that every one should write the story that wants to be told. We all have those stories. They may be the fun times of our youth or you may have a painful story that needs to be released. You don’t ever have to share your writing with anyone, but the important piece is writing and releasing. You may be surprised what it feels like to release that burden and load you have been carrying around for years.
It has been a joy and a privilege to lead so many women (and now men) in the journey of writing their memoirs. I will begin teaching my Leaving a Legacy Series in October as well as a new series. I will be posting my schedule in the next few weeks.
Why don’t you start now in the privacy of your journal and see what story comes to mind…
The picture to the left is of my great-grandparents. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to know them as they passed away before I was born. Even though I never had the privilege of getting to know my father’s grandparents I have heard many wonderful stories about them. As you can see from the picture my great-grandmother towered over my great-grandfather. Just looking at this picture makes me smile because I would have never put them together as a couple. But from what I have heard my great-grandfather adored her.
I would love to know the story of how they met and fell in love. The beauty about you writing your memoir is that you can tell your story to the generations that will come after you that you may never know. You can tell them about how you met your mate and fell in love or you can share stories of what attracted you to that seemingly opposite personality. You can share your view on love and what it takes to make that love last through the years. Or you may want to share on why you moved on and didn’t make it work. The joy of writing will take you back to those places that you may want to explore deeper. Take out those pictures and start today by sharing what you were feeling in those moments.
This is me on Day 20 of the 30 day challenge. This is me after completing a double class back to back with my friend Melanie. Pictures are a reminder of what we look like, but a picture doesn’t tell others how we feel. As I look back through the pictures of my life I see various times in my life when the picture seems to say one thing, but my true emotion was hidden. The beauty of writing a memoir and using your pictures to guide you is that you can use it as a tool to bring you back to that place and time. Some pictures are painful for me to look at because I was going through a painful time in my life. Some pictures are so wonderful to ponder over and remember the memories.
Pictures of your childhood can sometimes be painful to reflect upon if you had an unhappy childhood. Sometimes seeing those you have loved that have passed on can also bring up the tears.
As you look through the photos of the movement of your life be gentle with yourself. What do you see? What do you remember? A memoir written with the perspective of wisdom from passing through your experiences topped off with pictures of the event is wonderful. As I look at the movement of my life I can see that the woman I am today is not the woman I was 3 years ago or even 3 months ago. I am forever changing and becoming more clear on who I am. Even this picture of me taken almost 10 days ago and the picture I will take tomorrow (the end of my 30 day challenge) will look different. I am different each day as I choose to grow and be.
Today in your journal I would ask that you really “see” yourself. Who are you today? Who were you a year ago? Are you changing and growing? If not, examine why not. Take out those pictures and write about not just the event, but how you felt about the event.
When I spend time writing in my journal and work on my memoir, the friendships of my life are often a topic. Whether I am focusing on my early childhood friends or the friends I have today it always makes me happy. I was writing the other day about a childhood friend and remembering that we used to love to eat pickles together. We loved pickles so much we would even drink the pickle juice! She was the youngest of her siblings, who were quite a bit older than her, so she had lots of toys. One of the things I loved about having her as a friend was that she had every barbie made, plus all the accessories. We didn’t have much in common, other than the pickles, but I wonder why I chose her to be my playmate. Could it have been my longing to play with all those barbies, since the closest thing I had was a Dusty doll?
Look at your friendships you have today. Why do you have the friends you have today? Did you meet at a club you both belonged to? Did you live in the same neighborhood? It is fun to write about our friendships and how they began. Spend some time this week writing about the friends in your life. Try to start back with your childhood, which friends do you particularly remember? Who did you hang out with in high school? When you began having children did you find other friends with young children as well? Which friends have you savored over the years? There is nothing more precious in our lives than our friends. Our friends keep us balanced and alive. Even Courtney loves hanging out with her friends, Peanut and Princess.
As a special bonus, make a phone call or write a letter to some of your special friends and tell them what your friendship has meant to you!