Merdie and Pap gave me this wind chime for my birthday many years ago. It hung on my porch for a long time. Then the weather broke the strings, and it began to show its age. It hangs at the edge of the barn now. But I love it. I would never throw it out. It’s a reminder.
Some people call me a pack-rat. They say I keep too much stuff. I am keeping memories and reminders and little pieces of my life and the lives that mattered so much to me.
It’s a broken wind chime– yes.
But when the wind blows, I still hear their voices.
I love old things– old barns, old stories, old movies, old photographs, old people.
I love connections to the past, to history, to all the reasons
we are the way we are.
Part of my job as a parent is to help my children make these connections as well. I want them to know and understand their history. To know their people. To know their stories well enough to pass them on to their children. It’s why I write and take photos and make things. It’s why I work hard to create good memories (though some of the best can only happen spontaneously and with no direction from me) but it’s also why I work hard to preserve them.
Just today, I received an email from my good friend Lois who nailed it, as she usually does, when she said, “It’s important to realize how our lives are influenced by the past. Write it down– now, as things unfold. We forget details so quickly or we think something isn’t important til it’s too late.”
When I first began writing, I actually thought, “I don’t want to be a mommy blogger,” but as I continued to write, I did what all writing teachers tell us to do– I wrote about something I cared about. Categories and labels never stuck for very long. From time to time, I write about running or teaching or writing, but all of those thing, plus a bunch of other really random stuff, are just part of the hundreds of moving parts that make up my life.
If you’ve never considered writing a journal, keeping a scrapbook, taking photographs, or keeping an art journal as a means of both expressing yourself creatively and of keeping a record of all the little moments that make up a day, a week, a year, a lifetime, you should.
The next time you’re out, snap a picture. Buy a cheap spiral notebook and jot down a favorite poem, a quote you came across on Pinterest, that funny thing your three year old said from the back seat.
Buy a blank art journal and fill it up with doodles and recipes, locks of hair and lost buttons, an old Polaroid of you from 1976 and pictures you ripped from your latest copy of Better Homes and Gardens. Take a pen and write down what you were thinking, feeling, doing at the time.
Do it fast. Don’t over think it. Don’t worry if it’s “good enough”.
Just get it down– as it unfolds.
Write it just for you. Share it. Don’t share it. Leave it for your kids to read someday when you’re long gone. But get it down. This history of you.
My friend, Lisa, the Mountain Mermaid, has written a new journal called Daily Musings Journal 2014. I am anxiously waiting for mine to arrive in the mail any day now. If you visit her blog, she’s currently posting lots of creative ideas to use in our daily musings. Besides that, she’s just one of those fascinating people I was glad I happened to run across. It’s on my wish list to head out West and do a little mountain biking with her at some point. Of course, she would leave me crumpled in the dirt; perhaps a trail run instead???
I like her blog because it’s such a reflection of the artsy outdoor chick that she is. That’s what I love about the blogging community in general. My favorite blogs are a little glimpse into the lives of some very interesting and worthwhile people, and blogging gives us the opportunity to run into all sorts of folks we might otherwise have never known.
You don’t have to write a blog or post all your photos on Instagram or even keep dozens and dozens of journals stacked up around your house, but if you’ve never tried it, I recommend this simple little art form as a way of getting your story down… in whatever way it takes shape. Give yourself the gift of a new journal.