As we wrote our little three minute exercises, her point was proved over and over again. Through writing, thoughts begin to emerge that we may not have even expected were there. She had a few of us share our 3 minute masterpieces. The one I shared was on the prompt about "shoes." I told about how I had never had a good relationship with shoes. I find it impossible to find shoes that like my feet. And even after wearing braces as a baby and taking ballet as a child to straighten my misshapen feet, I still have problems with shoes. It doesn't seem to matter if the shoes cost $15 or $150, shoes hurt my feet! I guess I'll have to go barefoot.
Now that is a thread that is constantly going on in my subconscious. I walk into the house and instantly, the shoes get kicked off. I find myself only buying shoes that can be slipped on and off at any time or place --- under the desk, in the pew, at the restaurant, in the car. And yes, occasionally, the shoes come off accidentally while I am walking. Not good!
Oh, well, back to the topic of writing memoirs.
When my husband died earlier this year, I made a goal of writing down as many of his stories as I could remember. I have written about 80 pages worth so far. Last night, we were cautioned to "Be yourself, write freely, and think small." In other words we shouldn't try to revise and edit the writing so much that the "voice" of the person whose memories we are recording doesn't come through. We need to use the language that they used as much as possible and not worry if we are trying to write the next "best seller." I am glad that I heard Ellis tell his stories so many times. It has made writing them quite easy and so natural. I have a hope that these stories can be compiled into a book that I can give out to each of our families maybe for Christmas. Ellis died too young at age 63, and many of the grandchildren won't grow up having memories of him. I am hoping that these stories will continue to be passed down through the generations so that Grandpa Ellis will be remembered and honored.
The other project that I have been doing has been writing and illustrating Picture Books featuring each of our seven children. Three are completed, and the fourth is in the painting process now. Each of these stories may center around one of the children, but really, they include the entire family (at least all who were born by the time of the story). As I look at them now, I realize that these stories have really become another way to honor Ellis' memory and what a powerful force he still is in our family.
Here is a glimpse of one of the pages of the new picture book.