Memoir Magic

Memoir Circle 12-18-13This year, I have been pleased to facilitate a memoir circle that meets monthly in my home. We learn from each other more about ourselves than we could ever discover alone in front of our journals, pads, tablets or computer screens. That’s because we listen.

I’m thankful for the memories of a year filled with new insights, fresh expressions and freedom to explore who we are through writing. It’s one of the few unfettered practices we have; one that starts within and without the aid of electronic devices. What’s finally shared is sometimes amusing, often scary and always helpful. 

Last night, Marilyn wondered whether her dad’s sadness at Christmastime was tied to the losses his grandmother bore after the Civil War. Glennette and Patricia described the major roles their colorful aunts played in their care and education. Kitty read of the difficult life of her grandmother, an immigrant at the turn of the century, and the devastation it dealt her youngest child, Kitty’s father. Susan shared a letter to her six-year old granddaughter describing her own life at six, and Christina wrote of her accomplishments in music and the hard-won award of traveling through Europe with student musicians in high school. Next time, I’ll be ready to offer a mother’s perspective on my child’s first two decades.

Recording our memories is never mandatory and no one can force us to share them. Yet, when we open ourselves to the experience, we change. No longer guarded as closely, our secrets shine forth and bind us with others in a common cause:  being precise about where we’ve been, where we’re going and what messages we have for those who follow. What could be better New Year’s resolutions?

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