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Sunday, August 15, 2021

It's A Start

 At our all-school reunion, one person said she had received a "starter book" for Christmas one year.  In that book, each page had a starter heading that was more or less a prompt for the individual to keep going.  It would start with something like, "Every year as we celebrated the arrival of Spring, we would....” or "May Day was a great time for students in our school when I was young.  We always liked to..."


 While the prompt that was there always wasn't apropos, she said it usually spurred something else in her memory and she had not missed a single day in putting down a "full" new book. 


 It reminded me of an exercise that two friends from St. Olaf College developed for their “Elderhostel” class that they created.  Bruce Roberts and Howard Thorsheim, both professors of psychology at St. Olaf, came up with something they called "Bring A Thing."  They would gather seniors together to talk about their childhood memories and also ask each one to bring one thing that was remindful of a special time in their lives. 


Bring a Thing sparked dozens of conversations and often led to people at the gatherings leaving fired up to write down things that they had not spoken about for years – providing a stimulating exercise for themselves and great memories for their families.


 Anyone who teaches writing always tells their would-be writers to remember that each has a "starter" story -- something from their own lives.  Reunions, for example, whether they be class style, family or community, truly can be a stimulus for getting the ink flowing toward that end. 


Happy writing as you recall your special "writer's moments."


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