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Summer Writing Prompts:

May 19, 2019

I hear people claim they are “given” a word of the year, a word or idea that keeps catching their attention until they decide it’s more than coincidence. In the last month, especially, I’ve had my attention turned to the importance of story, telling our own, listening to those of others. Since this is already a soapbox issue for me, I want to dig a little deeper.

I want to take the time to write down family stories I’ve heard, making sure they don’t disappear. Coming from a storytelling family, I have a treasure trove from which to draw. I also have been reminded that sometimes while we are digging back through our ancestral stories, we forget to record or share the stories we know best–our own.

In the telling, too, I want to look for meaning and significance, for common threads and recurring themes. For now, I am not so concerned with creating some seamless narrative of my life or anyone else’s. Instead, I’m making the narrative equivalent of quilt squares. Some will be responses to photographs and artifacts; others must rely on the telling.

Beginning Prompts:

What stories are associated with items of clothing?

What are your best and worst memories associated with food and meals, with cooking?

What are the faith and baptism stories, your and those of others?

What songs dredge up clear memories? Which are happy? Which make you sad or nostalgic?

How did you experience music in your childhood home? in your adult home?

What conveniences that we now take for granted were once novelties? For example, do you remember life without central air conditioning, color television?

What telephone memories do you have in the days before everyone had a mobile phone that went everywhere?

How did you learn to drive?

What stories of flat tires, speeding tickets, fender benders and parallel parking do you recall?

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