We do not remember days,
we remember moments
I love the quote above on a Happy New Year greeting someone once sent me. It fit perfectly for a topic that I had been pondering. I wish that the person who wrote this quote had been named. Sadly, it is anonymous.
We do remember the special moments in our lives with a clarity that I find amazing. I've had special moments that have stayed with me for the many decades I've walked this earth, and they've been ones that have created those memoir stories that seem to be perfect for many anthologies.
Each one of those special moments is like a pearl, and as writers, we can string them together to create a memoir of our lives. The individual moments shine in our memory bank like the pearls on a necklace. They shimmer and glow and step forth clearly so we can write about them.
One of my favorite pearls is a story I wrote for a Chicken Soup Tea Lovers book. My grandmother and I had afternoon tea at the famous Walnut Room at Marshall Field's department store in Chicago when I was four years old. Only a young child, I still remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Because the memory remained vividly in my mind, I found I could recreate the event well enough to write a story that was published.
Another is a story about a valentine box my dad made for me during my second grade year. I remember it so well, I think, because a revelation hit me while Dad and I spent time together making the box.
Yet a third special moment memory that produced a publishable story is about the first time I had surgery. I was four and staying in the hospital proved frightening until a beautiful and compassionate nurse eased the experience for me. She set me on a path of service to others for the rest of my life.
When an event occurs in our life that has some importance in shaping our character or signifies love and family, the memory becomes more important than the mundane things in our days. The memories are stored until we pluck them out and add one more pearl to our life's necklace. All it takes is a little trigger to bring the memory forth. Once it's there, it's up to you to write about it.
When those memories emerge, don't let them slip by. If nothing else, jot down some notes so that you can write a first draft later. I find that those notations you make will help you bring the memory moment into sharper focus. When I write the first draft, the situation, or scene, truly comes alive for me and I feel as I have traveled back in time and am reliving the experience.
How many pearls will you add to your life's necklace this year?