Friday, October 31, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Friday, October 31, 2014

 Memoir Writing Prompts   
 
Sharing your memories is important so you are not forgotten. You have thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences, and lessons that are valuable to others. I like to refer to these as your forget-me-nots. It reminds me of the German legend of the forget-me-not flowers (McGrath, n.d.).

This is my version:
Once upon antiquity, in a faraway land, a knight sat at the edge of the Danube River. Dressed in armor from head to toe, he was unbreakable, but his heart was soft for the love of his life. His thoughts were focused on her gentle beauty and sweet kindness. Then the soft blue wildflowers that grew along the Danube caught his attention. He decided to pick a fistful for this maiden for whom he was smitten. The flowers were blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. He eyed a long, limp reed in the shallow of the water, so he stepped in the water to fetch his find. 
 
Suddenly, the heavens drew its shade. That made the wind angry, so it tiptoed behind the knight, grumbling and whispering its intent. As the knight bound the stems of the blue flowers with the reed, the wind grew wild and loud—so wild that it thrust the knight into the deep of the Danube. The knight fought the wind and the water to stay afloat. His metal fists held the bouquet ever so tightly.

The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his strength could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his courage could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his love for his maiden could not save him.

Just as he took his last breath, he saw his lovely maiden in the midst of the storm. He mustered enough strength to toss the bouquet to her and gasp, “Forget me not.”

From that day forward, these blue flowers--little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star-- have been known as forget-me-nots. People all over the world cherish these little flowers in remembrance of their loved ones whether they are away temporarily or have transitioned from life to death.

A flower is “the blossom of a plant” (Dictionary.com, para. 1), and we have all had blossoms in our lives. These are our forget-me-nots—little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. Because you are unique, extraordinary, and one of a kind, it is worth sharing your forget-me-nots.

How would you like to be remembered? Be inspired by a word below. This is the story in you. Share it.
Wordle.net

Domonique 

Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?

References

Dictionary.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/flowers?s=t
McGrath, S. (n.d.). Forget-me-not cakes. Retrieved from http://www.forgetmenotcakes.com/name.html

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: It's Good for You, 10/30/2014


With thousands of people participating in the social media trend #ThrowbackThursday (#TBT), over 100 million photos have been posted. It's the practice of sharing old photographs, lyrics, and links to songs along with the memories behind them. It has taken Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like by storm.

Have you joined in the fun yet?
You should join in the fun because nostalgia has benefits. Pondering over fond memories makes you feel better. Take a soothing bath in those times when you felt happy, protected, and loved. According to Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut (2012), the strength you gain from these positive memories can  have the following effect:
  • improve your self-concept
  • boost your mood
  • feel accepted
  • help you make connections between the then and the now
You can conjure up fond memories by looking at old photos, listening to old songs, smelling an aroma, touching an object, and/or tasting a food item or drink. 

Participating in #TBT is easy:
Participating in #TBT is easier than you think. 
  • Select a picture that was taken at least five years ago (one associated with fond memories).
  • Post it on your favorite social media site.
  • Write a brief description of the nostalgic memory.
Note that social media is not the only way to participate in #TBT. Start a #TBT scrapbook. Each Thursday, select an old photo that generates fond memories. Insert the photo into a scrapbook (make it or buy it). Then write about the fond memories centered around the photo. Before you know it, you'll have completed the scrapbook.

My #TBT

I was at the park the other day, and I saw this tree whose roots reminded me of hands--hands pushing up from the innermost parts of the earth. 


I thought about how different the tree’s roots must have looked when it was first planted—straggly tendrils. I can even picture how it was planted--gently laid to rest in a hollowed out bed and covered in a blanket of soil.

Then I thought about my own hands and the transitions they have made over the years. These are my 9-month old hands.


These chubby little hands flailed and grasped at objects and held on to Mama and Daddy’s hands.

These are my 6-year old hands.
I thought about all the pencils and paper I used to have. These little hands were always writing, drawing, coloring, gluing, and sewing. I loved to make things with my hands: doll clothes, pillows, and even arm covers for my grandmother’s divan.

These are my 25-year old hands. 

They became the hands of a wife and mother who cooked meals, changed diapers, sewed on buttons, and created home decorating projects. I have always owned a sewing machine, and over the years, I have enjoyed making things for people.

Today, my hands have also become a symbol of prayer, which is so much more than the childhood grace my siblings and I said before dinner: 

God is great
God is good
Let us thank Him for our food.
Amen

And so much more than the bedtime prayer we said before bed:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Bless Mama, Daddy, and my brothers and sister and . . .

I am thankful I now believe in a higher power. If I did not believe in a higher power, I would not have the hope and vision I have today. The natural state of being is quite limiting. I look forward to supernatural interventions. But having a strong belief in a higher power did not come until I was a grown woman. I had a spiritual awakening. I am told that when you have a spiritual awakening you eventually learn your spiritual calling. Mine is prayer, and my hands are the symbol of pushing up from the possible in hopes of reaching for the impossible.


What fond memories do you have when you think of your journey in life? This is the story in you. Share it. 

Connect with me on
Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:
  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?
Domonique

Reference

Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut. (2012). Nostalgia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.southampton.ac.uk/nostalgia/what_is_nostalgia/

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Telling Your Story in Six Words



There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.  ~ Maya Angelou

You have an untold story just waiting to come out. But if you are not into writing long memoirs, consider writing a six-word memoir to share your story. I learned about the six-word memoir several years ago from Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoir website. The website has inspirational ideas, examples, contest descriptions, and galleries. I used the idea in a memoir writing workshop I facilitated, and my students enjoyed the exercise. 

The possibilities are endless; see for yourself:

Six-Words, 2010

It's easy to get started:

Brainstorm for Ideas
Reflect on your life, experiences, and accomplishments.
 
Wordle.net
Write down your responses to the questions above without thinking about the number of words. Skim through your ideas, and select the best one. Then condense the words to six.

Select a Topic
If you're having a little difficulty generating ideas, or if you're thinking, "I'm sooo much more than six-words" think about various topics, and write a six-word memoir for each topic. For example, I’m a brave person (well, most of the time, anyway). So, my six-word memoir for the topic personality might be

This lady doesn’t run from spiders.

If I want to put a little attitude to it, I might write

This lady don’t run from spiders.

But this six-word memoir is only a fraction of who I am. It does not reflect my creativity. So, to address it, I might write

My imagination, where dreams are conceived

Here are some topics to get you started:

  • Social life
  • Love life
  • Finances
  • Character
  • Spiritual life
  • Career
  • Emotional

Use a Thesaurus to Find Synonyms
To find sophisticated and interesting words, use a thesaurus. If you're an Internet surfer, I recommend thesaurus.com. Better yet, use a creative source such as Evans’s The Gilded Tongue: Overly Eloquent Words for Everyday Things. You’ll find remarkable words that will add interest to your six-word memoir. Mind you, people will have to use a dictionary to discover the meanings, but if you are a mysterious person, this method is perfect for you. For example, if you cannot control your shopping habit, you could use oniomania. And if you are unpredictable, you could use aleatory (Evans, 2006).

Now, Shout it from the Roof Tops
Publish your untold story. Frame it, put it on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or a poster.

You can even get family members involved. Have each family member create his or her own six-word memoir. It's a way for them to use critical thinking skills and to express their individuality.

How would you describe yourself in six words? This is the story in you. Share it.


Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?
Domonique

References
Evans, R, (2006). The gilded tongue: Overly eloquent words for everyday things. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books.

Six Words. (2010). Six-word memoirs: The video story. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZOxhHXZW6o