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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Journal With Impact: Family Vacations

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Your memories are your jewels!” Julie Butler

Family Vacations

Family vacations have the capacity to turn into books, especially if they extend to family reunions, or special locations visited each year, or combining group holidays that also include friends. Next week I will post a generic worksheet that can be a base line to build on, but for this section reflect on your own personal memories.

First make a specific list of the: best, worst, easiest, hardest, happiest, saddest, longest, shortest, funniest, and unexpected details.

Then choose one specific memory and do a worksheet by writing out it out as a visual photo frame, as if you were standing before a movie screen watching it happen.

Then choose a yearly event and, “Retell this generic memory as if it happened just once. In telling it as a single, one time memory, try to evoke the experience as a single vivid moment in time.”  Make a note of all the highlight features and write it as one incident.  You can choose to write it as a letter, or a short story, or as a vignette, or as if writing a travel article.

For example, for many years I spent the summers with my aunt, a schoolteacher who had summer months off work. My first poetry memoir, Summer Sketches, reflected the memories of those summers by combining several summers into one: some by personalities and some by adventure. The “only” captured my first surprise when five-years-old and found its way into this vignette when I wrote the normal everyday activity as an adult.


                                    Every morning a fresh
                                                pot of porridge bubbled on the stove.
                                    It could be stirred
       with a long wooden spoon and
       by my uncle.”

Action Steps:

1. First choose one very familiar detail to write about and then pick an unusual, or one-time only occurrence.

2. Write them up as a combined memory? What feelings do you notice came to the surface?

3. Now rewrite the first familiar version.

Share: What style did you write your memory up as? What specific feature surprised you?

Read deep, marcy


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