The Blank Page
"Staring blankly at a blank page."
~A Six Word Memoir - by me
Sometimes a writer knows exactly what they want, or need, to write. Sometimes a writer has so many ideas and thoughts about what to write they don't know which one to pick. Sometimes a writer's got nothing!
Lately I've been writing and submitting children's devotional pieces. In the publisher's guidelines they've expressed a need for difficult topics - such as terrorism, public shootings, and single parent/blended families - for children ages 6 - 12. Knowing these needs, I've mulled over the topics for age appropriate ways to address the issues. At first, I focused on the least terrifying topics. Although truly if a child is part of a new single parent family or a new blended family situation, that could be scary for them. But I had a nagging feeling that wasn't where I should go.
As a retired elementary teacher, I began thinking about school and public shootings, and how students are prepared for such events. After all, we've prepared with fire and tornado drills for as long as I know. I recalled my own childhood having drills in case of nuclear attack. We'd duck under our desks and cover our heads with our hands for protection. I've wondered if anyone ever really believed that would save us from nuclear fallout.
For several days I researched, pondered, and strived for an appropriate way to convey my thoughts in a short contemporary story. I stared at many blank pages and the blank computer screen. Perseverance and prayers prevailed. I said several times in the process, this topic was difficult to write. So, we'll see what happens when I submit it.
After I finished writing the devotional draft, I set it aside. I knew I was due for another blog post. Again, I found myself staring at blank pages. I thought of a myriad of ideas. But nothing really grabbed me. Then I thought since there had been so many blank stares at blank pages in the past couple weeks, that would be my topic, or confession. It may not be exciting, but it's the real story.
Now on to other things!
LONG STORY SHORT
"Everyone has a story."
Many years ago a magazine feature caught my attention. It was about writing a story, maybe a memoir, in just six words. It sounded like a fun challenge. I jotted a few. The article encouraged readers to submit their creations online. So I did. Over time I forgot about it. Until last week. I was reading an online literacy newsletter I enjoy, even beyond my teaching years. The feature article piqued my interest, so then I clicked on the author's blog. Reading her musings, I spotted "Six Word Memoirs" she'd written in January. I dove in...which lead to further investigation and research.
I discovered there is a website on six word memoirs, and another on six word stories. I found YouTube videos. I learned that there are books with fun titles, such as Not Quite What I Was Planning, which was the first book that grew from Larry Smith's "Six Word Memoir" project. I downloaded it on my Kindle.
Teachers have picked up on the Six Word Memoirs to help students focus the essence of their writing. Lesson plans have been created. I wondered how it would have worked with my 2nd grade students. In a video, Larry Smith told how his nephew's 3rd grade class was very successful. I say 2nd graders could do it!
Always interested in all things writing, I got a fresh piece of paper and started thinking... First life topic that popped into my head was my mother's years with dementia and Alzheimer's before she passed away at 83, compounded by a dear friend who is on that path now. So, I wrote:
- Remembers everything. Remembers something. Remembers nothing.
- Alzheimer's - wretched disease. Steals life slowly.
To quote Larry Smith, "Everyone has a story. What's yours?"
I'd love to read your Six Words Memoirs. Post yours here on my blog in the comments, or on FB.
In like a lion; out like a lamb(?). March 31st departed gentler than March 1st and 2nd arrived. Calling it a lamb may be a bit of a stretch. Everyone I know expected and hoped for balmy warm, and sunny to be the norm entering into April. Both weather apps on my phone show snowflakes by the end of the week. Humph!
Well, we won't know the NCAA Champions until tonight. My hubby and I have tied in this little bracket game. But I've made some interesting observations. Right after a round ends, he starts reminding me to make picks for the next round, which is how it has always been. However, I noticed he's now urging me to pick before "father and son." When I inquired, he claimed he knows "they" will take care of it, but that I won't think about it unless reminded. That part is probably true. But isn't it funny that on Saturday afternoon I peeked at their Final Four picks and they're exactly like mine. Coincidence? You decide...
Moving on. I must admit I've gotten a kick out of Loyola's Sister Jean sensation. Early in the tournament, I caught a glimpse of a young female sports announcer interviewing a sweet elderly lady. So I started paying attention. How fun is this? A 98 year young nun decked out in her team gear, including "special" athletic shoes, has been the Loyola men's basketball team chaplain since 1994. And she's one very faithful fan! Somewhere around the Elite Eight games, I mentioned Sister Jean to my husband, and that I planned to root for Loyola because of Sister Jean. (Remember I have many unique criteria for making bracket picks.) He remarked that he figures much of America felt the same way, except probably Michigan. But Saturday night Michigan and Villanova got the W's; Loyola and Kansas got the L's. And that's just the way the ball bounces sometimes.