Post #159 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Memoir and Your Life Influenced by Bucket List
A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a group of young women and men–in their 30s. I was surprised to find that the conversation touched on bucket lists at least twice. Then last week, a Women’s Memoirs reader from Australia, Mairi Neil, contacted me saying she was coming to the US with her daughter. When she said that Portland was her third stop, after Los Angeles and San Francisco, I asked her to save part of a day so that I could meet her in person, take her to lunch, and then show them our Portland Art Museum. During lunch, Mairi also brought up the topic of a bucket list. She described the multi-day hike she took after completing her medical treatment, saying that it had been on her bucket list for years.
I’m sure you’ve heard about bucket lists and probably even know the origin. If not, the brief explanation is that “The Bucket List” was a 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two men diagnosed as terminally ill, who decide to accomplish everything on a list before they kick the bucket.
I’ve never had a bucket list, but I’m thinking of creating one. Why? It is a good way to focus on goals and then be mindful of achieving them. Do you have one? Whether your answer is yes or no, consider using it in conjunction with the following memoir writing prompts.
Memoir Writing Prompts
IF YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST
1. Find one item you have done and one you have not. Write for 10 minutes about each one. Why is it on your list? What does it specifically say about you as a person and your interests? Why is one accomplished and the other is not? What is your timeframe for accomplishing the second one? Use this writing time to explore what your list means to you and how it represents you to others.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A BUCKET LIST
2. Evaluate where you are in your life. What do you want to do before you kick the bucket? Create a list of 5 to 10 items that are most important to you. Then rank order them with the most important at the top of your list. What if something happened to your health and made it difficult for you to get around. What would you have to remove from your list? If these are important, perhaps you need to get to them now while you have the energy and strength. Does this cause you to reorder your list? Once you are satisfied with the list, write for five minutes about why this item is the most important one for you. Is it a childhood dream? Is it just a fun thing that will bring your pleasure. Does it take you out of your comfort zone so you know it will help to stretch you as a person? Your list reveals something about you. What does it reveal?
As a final note, I want to add that this past weekend I was with a group who again mentioned a bucket list. One person said, “Why would I have a bucket list? I’d just do everything on it and then what would I do? I’d have to kick the bucket.” That’s one response. A better one might be to keep adding items as you give more thought and consideration to what you want to have done in your life.
Have fun. Have a bucket. Even a bright red one.
Post Script:I started writing this blog post about three weeks ago. Then life happened. I got back to it, finished the writing and scheduled it. Now I read that the FBI has arrested a man they suspect is the “Bucket List Robber,” a name they began using after he told a bank clerk that he only had four months to live.
Want to share one or two of the items on your bucket list? If so, please put them in the Comments section below. If you intend to rob a bank, better keep that one to yourself.