Post #157 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Moving Makes Us Dig Deeply Into Our Lives, Our Selves
As many of you remember, it was just a little over 18 months ago, that my life partner and I moved from Gilroy, California to Corvallis, Oregon. That meant examining 40 years of a full and happy life and deciding what would move with us. Although we firmly believe that we carry happiness and joy inside us and that their expression does not depend on material goods, we did have more than 15,000 days of living to either pack with us or leave behind.
Fortunately, we have adult children and we offered them almost anything we owned. We decided it was time for them to start enjoying what we had collected over the years. We just maintained the right of refusal. It worked out well. They now have some of our treasures and we still have enough to satisfy our needs. Yet I don’t want to underestimate the emotions of touching, even if briefly, the memories of a lifetime.
There were major problems with the movers, a topic I haven’t mentioned before and still am not ready to fully address. Let’s just say that for a premium fee they charged because they were specifically trained in handling antiques, the movers managed to damage a number of valuable items. When told about this, the owner of the moving company said, “Aren’t you glad you have insurance.” That wasn’t exactly comforting. Then they delayed and delayed and delayed on paying for the problems. Someday it may be a funny story. Just not yet.
Even now, the consequences of the move are with me. I’ve had to look at myself and learn who I am in deeper ways than ever before.
What Kind of a Move?
There are many kinds of moves in life — self- or externally-imposed moves; good or bad moves; anticipated or sudden moves. This past week, we helped one of our sons prepare his home for sale after his move into a larger place. That brought our move back into focus. His is the move of a young person putting down roots.
In thinking about his move, I came up with still another set of categories — moving up, moving down, moving on.
Writing and Moving
When we write, we are also involved in moving. We may move backward in time or we may take ourselves and our readers forward. Emotionally we may move up or down. It is probably impossible to find ourselves at the same place we were when we began our writing.
Most importantly, we need to move inward to look, evaluate, and understand ourselves before we can move up and on.
Memoir Writing Prompt
1. Think about the last time that you moved. Let your mind fill with the details of that experience. Recall where you were and where you moved to. Think about the reasons for the move. Remember what you decided you could take with you (and why) and what you left behind (and why). We never make perfect decisions, especially under times of stress. Now with the specifics and the emotions well in mind, ask yourself, “What did I learn about myself from the move?”
2. Now write for about 10 minutes about the person you were before the move and the person after the move. How would you characterize the move? Was it moving up, moving down, or moving on? Examining the move now and how you are as a person, can you dig more deeply in the experience and find growth from it?