Saying Happy Birthday to Kendra and Learning from Hoo-ga

by Matilda Butler on June 11, 2018

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #246 – Memoir Writing Tip – Matilda Butler

Kendra Bonnett Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday

Today is Kendra’s Birthday and I just couldn’t resist shouting a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY on our blog. You haven’t been hearing a lot from us recently, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten you and your memoir journey. And at the end of this post, I have a memoir writing tip to share with you.

Kendra is out mowing her lawn right now. And to those of you in rainy places (such as Oregon), start dreaming about those warm summer days that will arrive (later if not sooner). You can save your mowing until then. But most of the time, Kendra is busy at work. We’re spending a great deal of time moving our websites, updating their looks, and learning about all the new web technologies that we had been ignoring. Well, it had to happen one day and now you can understand why we aren’t blogging much. We don’t want to complicate our task any more than necessary. Hence a partial freeze on our writing.

Now to Our Present to You

I mentioned “learning from Hoo-ga” in the title of this blog. WHO or WHAT is Hoo-ga? Well, I was cheating. The word is Hygge and it is pronounced Hoo-ga. Hygge is the name of a new book with a full title of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking, CEO or thje Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen. As the author says in the introduction,

“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded by the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life–or just be comfortable in each other’s silent company–or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea.”

Hygge is a great book to have around. You can pick it up and read as much or as little as you like. You can go back to a concept and read about it again, seeing even more connections to your own life. A good friend in California gave me the copy I have. I loaned it to one daughter-in-law and she returned it on Saturday saying, “This is an important book. I’ve ordered my own copy.” And next weekend, I’ll share it with another daughter-in-law. Spreading its ideas on happiness up and down Oregon.

And now, I want to share an idea from the book with you that you just might apply to your memoir writing.


Link purchases with good experiences. I had saved money for a new favorite chair but waited until I had published my first book to get it. That way, the chair reminds me of something that was an important accomplishment for me. We can apply the same thing to that special sweater or that pair of nice woolen socks. Save for them–but wait until you have that really hyggelig experience: you want to be reminded of it when you pull them on. p. 87


Think of something you want. It might be a “thing” or an “experience” or anything else. Save getting “the something” until you’ve met your goal. Meanwhile continue your writing. Set a specific goal. It doesn’t need to be the publication of your memoir. It might be completing a fully edited vignette. It might be sharing the lifestory as a gift to family and friends.

You set your own memoir goal…achieve the goal…and reward yourself with the treat you want. Then each time you use the treat or look at it or remember it (assuming the treat is an experience rather than a thing) you will look back and treasure the goal you achieved.

Back to Kendra

Kendra and DuckA number of years ago (Kendra probably wants me to say “a few years ago”), Kendra and I shared a grand trip to multiple places on the East Coast as part of her Fabulous, Final Fifty’s Birthday just as she was turning 60. In the photo taken on that trip, you’ll see her giving a duck a special hug and remembering a duck from her childhood.

I often look back on that time together and link it with our longstanding friendship and my admiration for her and my awe of her and all that she does.

Happy Birthday Kendra. Have a great year.

You can find your own link between things/experiences and your memoir writing.

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