Archive for April 6th, 2010


Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I am working on a memoir. It is quite a process to write a storyÖ.about yourself.

A couple weeks ago I sat in a memoir workshop. The instructor asked us to pull out a memento we had with us and write down why it had special meaning. MementoÖ. an object given or kept as a reminder in memory of somebody or something.

I looked through my purse; shuffled through old receipts, my wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone. At first glance, I didnít carry a thing in memory of somebody or something There was nothing special in my big, black, bag. So, I kept quiet and listened to what others had to say.

ìI have one,î said the man behind me, ìI have a tattoo on each arm to remind me of my quadruple bypass surgery. My left arm has a heart with a band aid on. My right has the names of my grandchildren. They are the people who got me through this surgery.î

Well, I certainly donít have a memento like that.

The woman down the aisle stood up. ìI have my i-phone which has a GPS. The last map on it was a run up Horsetooth I did three days ago. Iím training for a half-marathon. This winter has been the first time Iíve felt strong enough to run since my chemotherapy. The half-marathon is in three weeks and I think Iíll be able to do it.î

Story after story was told; heartbreaking, yet strong stories, stories of the human spirit.

I opened my purse again and found an old syringe used for Samanthaís medicine. I pulled out the ëtoolí used to open oxygen tanks for Samantha. This tool doubles as a key chain. Ironically, it was wrapped around my Childrenís Hospital badge.

Are these mementos? Are these keepsakes? Is the scar from my c-section just as much a keepsake as my great-grandmothers quilt? They all tell a story of who I amÖ.MY life.

I watched the people around me pull out items and create stories; the tiny threads of their experiences and I thought that being a writer, being able to capture life within a plastic syringe, is pretty darn cool.