Monday, October 20, 2014

Write Your Life: All You Need is a Photograph

It isn't the dining room table where everyone gathered, the Swiss clock where the couple came out and kissed at the top of the hour, the Old Country Roses China, or even the quilt that was lovingly made out of everyone's pajamas, play dresses, and silk ties that is the most precious keepsakes from great Grandma Irene, even though each of these is precious in their own right.

It's the stories that get handed down. The family history that gets repeated. The journals and letters that were kept.

And if you don't have those, wouldn't you love to? Don't you wish that someone had written it down somewhere?

You can't do much about writing your Great Aunt Iris's memoirs (although you can certainly try), but you can do something about writing your own memoirs.

"But I'm not interesting," you grown.

Well, maybe not to you. And maybe not to your kids who roll their eyes everytime you tell them about the time you climbed a tree and fell out of it onto the cat, but the passage of time makes even the most mundane interesting. The price of lettuce, the dress that you wore to school, the first boy you kissed even if he was an idiot. That is what makes your life real. You don't have to travel the world and sit in meditation in monasteries and fall in love in Italy with a handsome undercover prince, and go on a treasure hunt that leads you to a secret tomb.

You just have to have lived a life, even a boring one, to write your memoir.

So with that in mind, I am starting a new series. I'm not sure how this is going to go - hey I'm not exactly the best planner in the world, but we'll see how it goes.

So, get out your quills, your crayons, your computer, whatever you use to write and lets begin.

First off, don't worry about telling your story in order. Think about it. When you tell your stories you don't start at the beginning of your life. You pick an incident out of your life and tell that. So that's what we will do.

And for those of you who have to start at the beginning, I'm thinking of posting a month by month series of questions that should help you with that.

So let's begin at wherever you want.

First suggestion to get you started, because it can be hard to start - find a photograph. It can be of you, or of people you know and you were there perhaps taking the photo. Now tell the story behind the photo. Where were you? What were you doing? Who's in the picture? When was it taken? What's the mood? If the photo is in black and white, can you remember the colors? This is especially important if the photo is a formal one and what you're wearing matters. If you're standing in front of a car, what is the make and model of the car? Do you remember the smells and sounds of that day? What about conversations? If it's in front of a house, tell about the house. Whatever feelings and memories that photo triggers, write about it. Tell the story as if you were talking to someone about it.

Okay, so that's it. If you're a blogger, blog about it and leave a link in the comment section here. I would love to read it, better even if you can scan the photo into your blog.


Chloe said...

This is also great for bloggers who are looking for inspiration for a new post