I left last Friday morning for a very special weekend. For 48 hours I went to Lenox, Massachusetts for a writing workshop for about 50 people taught by author Dani Shapiro on crafting memoir. I knew Dani, but hadn’t met any of the other attendees in person. I’d started chatting with a few of the women on Twitter in the weeks before the workshop and was excited to meet them.
Kripalu itself was new to me; as a person who doesn’t practice yoga I hadn’t heard of the well-known destination. I’ll write more about the details of the weekend in another post; suffice it to say that it rejuvenated me as a writer and a person. I spent my days with four special women (click on their individual names below to visit their blogs); the picture below was taken on Saturday night when Denise, Lindsey, and I stayed up late gabbing like college girls.
One of the many thought-provoking exercises that Dani Shapiro gave us while at Kripalu was to write for 10 minutes, without stopping, sentences that begin with “I remember.” (An exercise inspired by Joe Brainard’s classic book, I Remember). Denise, Christine, Sarah, Lindsey, and I all found this both fun and surprising – we discovered that we wrote down both long-cherished memories and ones we had not even realized we remembered. Katrina Kenison (who was also at Kripalu this weekend) also recently wrote her own “I remember” list.
We think this is a powerful and revealing exercise, and wanted to share a few of our “I remembers” as well as invite you to participate. Please join us – either by writing a post on your blog about what you remember or by adding a few of your memories to our comments. Start with 5 “I Remember”s and if you get a good rhythm and flow, keep going! If you write your own post, please come back and link it here – and we look forward to reading and responding to your memories.
I remember the purple fingerprints up and down the tape measure the surgeon used to mark me for surgery.
I remember going to Legoland.
I remember walking down the aisle.
I remember less than I used to.
I remember my mother’s light blue Cadillac and the way she put newspaper down on the floor of the backseat so my riding boots would not get them messy.
I remember mowing the lawn of my childhood home and being paid 25 cents for each of the four portions.
I remember visiting my brother at college and falling asleep to the sound of his girlfriend repeating “Mmmmm” as I told stories.
I remember pralines and cream ice cream.
I remember the way Clarke’s voice sounded the night he told me his mother had been killed in a car crash.
I remember how he almost fainted when Paige was born.
I remember my father telling me he thought my one year old daughter was too chubby and laughing about it once she grew so skinny she couldn’t find pants to fit.
I remember thinking that marrying Clarke would mean nothing bad would ever happen to me. I remember learning that I could not have been farther from the truth.
I remember how great it felt the first time a reader left a comment on my blog.
I remember my grandmother telling my mother and me she thought we were too close.
I remember the epidural. I remember not having the epidural. I remember which one I liked more.
I remember the bathrobe-style gown they use at Sloan Kettering.
I remember the last night I looked down and saw my breasts.
I remember waking up after they were gone.
I remember sleeping in Colin’s hospital room. And Tristan’s.
I remember being called “Mom” for the first time.
I remember hearing the words, “I know what’s wrong with your son.”
I remember thinking, “But what do people do on Twitter?”
I remember the strong smell of Steve’s cologne in high school and how you could smell him before you saw him.
I remember Bill’s white Ford Pinto.
I remember telling my parents I didn’t believe in God.
I remember my first serious boyfriend, James, telling me he loved Jesus more than he loved me. I remember telling him our relationship wasn’t going to work, then.
I remember clipping my grandmother’s toenails a few weeks before she died. I remember how the nail on her big toe was about to fall off and how I just couldn’t leave it hanging there.
I remember getting the phone call that my grandfather had died.
I remember my mother turning down the volume of the radio when my father would come home from work when I was growing up.
I remember missing my college graduation.
I remember my father giving me a list titled “10 Maxims for Our College Girl” when I went off to college.
I remember that my birthday cake had a horse on it.
I remember sitting for hours while my hair got permed in high school.
I remember thinking I would never weigh more than 100 pounds.
I remember my first blind date. I remember my last blind date. I remember that they were the same date.
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