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May 13, 2008

The Paintbox of Memory

Ashley and Garrett with a Surprise

I love what author Natalie Goldberg has to say in her new book, OLD FRIEND FROM FAR AWAY, about writing our memoirs.

“We go back to our past to piece things together,” she writes. “We want an answer. We want things to be black and white, to be obvious and ordered. Oh, the relief. But have you noticed, it doesn’t work that way? We live more in the mix of black and white, in the gray – or in the brilliant colors of the undefined moment.”

No matter what reason we may have for wanting to record our histories, it becomes an opportunity to open the paintbox of memory. And from there, all of our senses will follow.

For example:

I remember the lilacs that grew just outside my window as a child. In early summer, after a rain, they seemed to be encased in crystals, like something from a fairytale. I opened the window a bit more, reached out my hand and touched one. Cool and sweet, the scent of lilacs filled me with what I can only describe as something beyond joy. For a moment, I was lost in someplace completely magical. Then the crystals shook loose, the sounds of the street below came echoing in, and I heard my mother calling.

We need start only with the words, “I remember . . .” Everything else will follow.

May your memory be awakened today by something small that sparks a moment in time that made you mysteriously happy.

1 comment:

Patti said...

what a lovely memory, visual and vivid. I hope I can remember enough to put together my biography in a way that is meaningful to my children...
like the new color btw:)