I hope you’re having a Happy Holiday Season!
As writers, we search for meaning in the unfolding of events. As we fill and refill our memories banks to help us write our memoir, we can use the present to help us gather new memories, and reflect on the old ones.
This year, I’m happy to be celebrating with my grandchildren and my daughter. Miles, 9, and Zoe 6 were circling the tree, inspecting the packages, lifting, smelling, and shaking them. Zoe came to me with a serious face, “Nana, do you love Miles more than me? He has six presents and I have four. You need to give me two more.”
I assured her that I didn’t love him more, and reluctantly she said she understood. But did she really? Even adults have these moments of doubt.
Growing up, the holidays were a storm of conflict between my grandmother and mother, arched eyebrows, breathless tension. I didn’t know it then, but the unfinished business of my grandmother leaving my mother when she was a little girl Zoe’s age was the subtext of all fights. It was about failures in love—feeling unloved, feeling guilty. And the struggle not to feel any of it. It’s part of my memory bank, for better or worse.
Today I enjoy making new memories that weave new stories over the old ones. My daughter loves sparkly lights, decorating the tree and the house, making cookies, and wrapping presents. I had to learn how to celebrate holidays by watching how other families “did” Christmas, wrapping presents and festive cookies, trying to create a meaningful holiday as a single parent with three children. We created new traditions—icing the cookies, buying our tree, hanging ornaments, and opening one present on Christmas Eve. Year after year, the echoes of the Christmases of my past would grow dimmer as we created new memories. Now the traditions I created have come full circle as I celebrate in my daughter’s house.
These days, we preserve our memories with videos on our cell phones, the laughter and joy of special moments. Don’t forget to write your special moments in your journal, or list stories you want to write out in detail later–the complexities of our human experiences.
Are you celebrating new holiday traditions? What are they? Is a new generation adopting them?
What happy holiday stories do you still need to write for your memoir?
Are there dark stories that you want to write—so you can get a new perspective and put them in the past?
Be sure to write this year’s stories! Include scenes, colorful descriptions, action, and dialogue to bring everyone to life on the page!
And have a wonderful holiday! Blessings to all! Thank you for being part of our National Association of Memoir Writers family!
Remember–Be Brave. Write Your Story!