I don't know about you, but there can be a blurriness to my memories. What did I actually eat yesterday? Was it Monday last week when Z rang? Where have I seen those keys? So much to process every day ... What do I actually remember? In years to come, when I look back at the landscape of my life, I don't want to peer at vague and misty outlines. I know it will not be possible to see it all evenly backlit in glorious technicolour. But I'll settle for bright pools of clarity, even if the edges shade into darkness ...
Of the pages I have created this year, the most vivid memories nestle in the most straightforward journalling of all: simple description. Its power came home to me in Ali Edward's 31 Things class a few months ago: one day at 9.15 we stopped and jotted down whatever was happening. That was it. Just had to write it down, with as much specific detail as possible. No evaluating, no trying to recall feelings from a previous event, no need for a coherent story. Simply describe.
When I re-read my description of that moment, I am astonished at the clarity and vividness of the memory. I am right back there. Experimenting a few times since, the result is the same. Intriguingly, it also brings back sensations, thoughts and situations not written down, but which were part of the wider landscape at the time. It's a wonderfully rich and simple way to capture experience and create a memory which is bright, textured and and alive.
- a simple description of one minute of life
- made mid-month (around the 15th), posted a few days later
- could be varied in form: a scrapbook layout, a diary page, a bit of art-journalling added, a collage, or just a piece of writing and a photo (or something else yet to be discovered!)
And if you'd like to join me in capturing a moment in time, I'd be honoured :). Some of the things I've found most useful:
- just get the initial notes down quickly: who, where, what, how. ('Why' is less useful, being more evaluative)
- keep the details very concrete and specific e.g. the blue willow-patterned mug with the flower inside the rim
- what am I seeing/looking at, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling?
- what/how am I feeling, what am I thinking, pondering, wondering, planning, asking myself, wearing, carrying, about to do
- where am I / others at this moment?
- what is each person doing?
- what's the weather/temperature like
- no need to be profound: simply describe!
- can be humourous too
Wishing you a happy and unblurry weekend!