Believe it or not we’re now on the backside of 2010. Time moves right along and carries us with it. I hope some of your memories of the first half of this year will inspire new writing. Memory-based poems don’t have to come from childhood experiences. As an exercise, try making a list of two or three memories from these past six months. You may be surprised at how easily you find yourself slipping into your writing mode.
Here’s my list.
1) In January my 97-year-old mother fell in her apartment and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She didn’t break anything but was so weak when she returned home that she couldn’t use her walker. She just sat in her chair while people waited on her. My mind was filled with anxiety for her and I felt certain that she would soon be headed to a nursing home. Yet somehow she found the grit to fight back. Within two weeks she was on her walker and resuming her daily activities.
2) In February I spoke in Colorado at CCIRA. During the conference, I enjoyed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with good friends — fellow writers, editors, and teachers — and I realized how fortunate my life has been. Along the way to making children’s books I’ve met and become close with many wonderful people who share similar interests and beliefs. I came home with the feeling that I’m a lucky man and should remember my good fortune on those days when the details of life sometimes obscure the bigger picture.
3) In March, my wife Sandy and I were guests for High Tea at the apartment of a friend who finds joy in bringing people together who may not have met previously. Charlotte’s four guests sit for a while in a cozy arrangement of sofa and chairs as our hostess skillfully guides us in telling something about ourselves and discussing our views on a variety of subjects. Before long we sit around the table, set with beautiful china and generously laden with her treats for the day including, of course, a pot of tea. Charlotte prefers her tea with milk, so I take milk in mine too. Each guest finds a small gift at the plate. Good talk continues over pastry and tea until we suddenly realize that it’s later than we realized and we must say goodbye. Each time I experience one of Charlotte’s formal teas I am impressed again that there are still people who care for fine traditions that bring people together to participate in fellowship and good talk. My friend is well into her 80s. I wonder who will keep alive her admirable traditions.
My list could easily be longer. Those three memories are only from the first three months. If you decide to try your own list, I hope you enjoy looking back at the first half of this year as much as I did. You may be surprised by the richness of memories that are still fresh. I hope you will find new inspiration to start a story or add telling details and insights to something you are already working on.
Happy 2nd Half of 2010!