Monday, January 28, 2013

Finding Your Next Story/MANN

We drove to church this morning through a tunnel of shimmering silver trees. Even the sky had taken on a white tinge across its blue background. It wasn’t just on the road we travelled, as I soon discovered when I mentioned this in my welcome to the congregation. People nodded and smiled - they had obviously travelled on similar roads on their way to church.

It is not surprising that we would enjoy a comparable experience on a frosty morning. I would guess that if we’d had the opportunity to chat with each other, we could have shared more occasions of God’s handiwork in our lives.

This often happens in my Creative Writing Class that I teach at a local retirement residence. I sometimes hear, “I wasn’t able to bring anything and then when I started to talk with the others, I began to think of a story about attending the Elora Farmer’s Market.” And then someone says, “I remember one morning when I went to the market and the roads were like a sheet of glass and . . .” I know when this starts, the stories are beginning to jell and we’ve begun something very special in the lives of those attending.

“We carry with us every story we have ever heard and every story we have ever lived, filed away at some deep place in our memory. We carry most of those stories unread, as it were, until we have grown the capacity or the readiness to read them” (Rachael Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom, 1996). I find the fact that we may have stories within our minds and deep in our heart that we have not yet  ‘read’ and can still have the enjoyment of interpreting, quite exciting. Therein lies the hope that we can redeem those stories that have slipped between the crevices of our memory.

I have heard many people say they have recently thought about previous situations that haven't held any logic in the past, but now make perfect sense. Does that mean the older we get, the more stories we’ll be able to draw on that are tucked away? This is a nice thought, indeed.

Even as I write, I think of my grandfather whose stories I’ve previously shared on this blog. In my memory, I can see a little girl with a blond ponytail sitting on Swan Creek’s soggy banks, fishing with her grandpa. And I can hear his voice in my head telling me about his early farming days when he always made time to go fishing. Maybe after I finish this blog, more of his unread stories will come to mind to add some warmth to this cold January day.

Blessings on the next story that comes to your mind.
Check out books on Agnes Macphail's childhood and young adult life in your library.
Aggie's Storm; Aggie's Dream; Aggie's Voice - to come


Carolyn Wilker said...

Donna, your comments hit a chord. Interesting how some memories come back when we least expect.

Peter Black said...

Yes, what Carolyn affirms is so true. And Donna, the responses of your writing class members to your gentle prompts demonstrates that those memories are there, "tucked away," waiting to be brought out and "read," as you say.
I wonder whether those folk who don't rush from one thing to another, but take time to process thoughtfully and revisit pleasant experiences in memory before they slip far from present thought, are able to enjoy them again years down the road through better recall. (Hmm, maybe that underscores the value of journalling -- something I don't normally do.)

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