“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” –J.K. Rowling
Writing my life stories is the hardest part of my memory keeping process because it is also the most important (at least for me) and I want it to be perfect and meaningful. I often ask myself: what stories do I want to tell and what stops me from telling them? The second one is easier to answer. After these year I have identified the top five things that, together or alone, have stopped me from writing my life stories:
- comparison (yes, the thief of joy!)
- self doubt
- time management
- the actual meaning of the word “story”
I suck at storytelling.
Story, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is an account of incidents or events. For a long time, I have seen storytelling as the action of communicating something that has a beginning and develops towards an end. And to be honest, that’s not even close to what I have written in my memory keeping projects. When I look at all the pieces of my life that I’ve put through all my albums, I can see it as a story, a story in progress. But when I don’t look at it that way, I feel ashamed of calling myself a storyteller. I actually suck at it.
I want to learn to see myself as a storyteller.
One of my intentions for my memory keeping from now on, is to silence the voice that can’t see my words as “stories” and allow me to call myself a “storyteller”. A storyteller is a relater of anecdotes, and anecdotes are a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident. I want to see my words as anecdotes, as facts and feelings, and I want to see myself as a collector, a documenter, a storyteller.
Now, what stories I want to tell?
I want to make myself the question again from this perspective: what stories do I want to tell?
I guess that the best and easiest way to answer those questions is with these three simple questions:
- What’s the purpose of these albums and projects that I take time and energy to work on?
- What I would I have liked to know about my parents, grandparents and past generations?
- What I would like to remember about myself in the future when I look back through my albums?
- What I would like my children or family or friends to know about me and the life I lived?
I want to be a documenter, a collector of facts and feelings.
I want to keep collecting pieces of my life’s story, and making them visible through my memory keeping projects.
I want to keep:
- noticing routines,
- exploring how we feel and think,
- capturing the things and places we love,
- reflecting on the cost and value of things,
- recording what we eat, what we do for fun, how we go through hardship, etc…
I want to focus on the everyday, not just the birthdays or the weddings or the anniversaries. I want to communicate the facts and feelings, the little things, the daily life, the mundane. I want to collect it all and make it visible, even if I don’t have story-like things to write or share.
I want to keep writing everyday.
The easiest part of everything is wanting to do something. It gets complicated when you have to put your wishes into action and work towards the desired outcome. For the past years my writing style has been pretty irregular. I can say that I haven’t found my voice or my style. But I have learned and evolved a lot, not in my writing skills, but in the ways I see life and everything that surrounds me.
I currently keep a digital journal using the Day One app (my favorite app, by the way) to take daily (or every other day) notes about what I did during my days. Sometimes I fall behind a couple of days and I forget some details of what happened, so behind I use photos and text messages as a starting point to cover the journaling for those days. If I fall behind, I often use repetition to make completing my journaling easier (my favorite repetition lines are: I want to remember… and This week/month I/we…).
While I don’t add every single word from that journal to my Life Book, I do like to keep the practice of daily journaling both to have content for my memory keeping projects and to develop my writing skills.
I want to explore new documenting techniques
Besides repetition and “normal” writing, I would like to try other documenting techniques such as list making and letter writing. I want to keep the options broad and available, and I want to explore. I want to explore because I want to discover. I want to discover because I want to improve. I would love to have a “signature” style, but I wont let the lack of it to be an obstacle for keep going.
The stories I want to tell are the collection of facts and feelings from everyday life, whether if they’re well written or they’re not, wether they look like stories or even if they’re not.
Those are the stories that I want to tell.
Photos are from my October Life Book pages.