Thursday, July 3, 2014

Write Your Story

When I was asked to lead a breakout session at this year's BMB retreat, I originally wanted to lead a session on writing your story. I know Michelle Thorne did one last year and Leilani the year before, but still I thought it would be a good topic. Even recently, one of you has contacted me with questions about how to get started and what to do first.

You've probably figured out by now that I love writing. I write almost everyday in a journal. I handwrite notes to others on regular occasion. I write lists. I write lists for my lists. And while I do love technology and the keyboard, there's still something about a clean, fresh, white piece of paper and a nice, smooth pen in my hand. Weird, I know.

In some ways I feel like I'm stuck between two generations. I learned to type on a typewriter. My first computer class was in seventh grade. While we didn't actually own a gaming console, Atari was my first computer game. All of the advances are awesome and a great way to stay connected. But somehow along the way, we have lost something.

My grandmother used to send me handwritten letters. For part of my life, I lived down the street from her. But I can still remember receiving her letters and thinking, "Why didn't she just get in her car and drive down here?" But then my family moved away, and getting those letters in the mailbox was like getting a little piece of home.

I have an aunt who, at 70, still handwrites me lengthy letters (read "books") on lined sheets of notebook paper. While her writing is as neat as a typewriter, she's never to my knowledge actually used one. I feel bad when time will only allow me to dash off a note on the word processer, print it and send it. Its somehow feels dishonoring to her.

My point is to try different mediums for writing your story. Something about snuggling up in a nest of blankets and pillows while pouring out my heart on a sheet of paper feels warm and safe. Contrast that with the vulnerability I sometimes feel while sitting here at a sterile keyboard and you can see the difference. Try different things before deciding, then focus on telling your story.

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