Memoirs and Others

Writing memoir is tricky–there is a reason why it is called creative non-fiction. Time is key. Time both erases and creates memory in a way that can best be described as imperfect truths. My blog posts are primarily about travel, but every now and then, a memoir piece sneaks in and speaks up. I must stop and give it the attention it is due, as well as the language, the imagery, the place, and the time it deserves. By honoring the need to write about memories, my writing can become more compassionate or even more full of fury. Memoir is a genre in which lines are blurred–as they should be.

To Tell the Truth

When my family sits around the littered remains of a holiday dinner and drinks coffee from the thin china cups we use once a year, we tell stories tightly woven together by time’s erasure and creation of memory. My brother burying my mother’s real pearl earrings in a treasure chest in the grass, my father sitting with a cowboy astride a horse, a photograph that later arrived C.O.D. by mail, and my mother clutching a porcelain doll she received from Santa the Christmas her father passed away.

Boat Ownership: Delightful Recollections, Empty-Nest Freedom, or Mid-Life Crisis?

The first time we bought a boat we thought we would create lasting memories for our children. The second time we believed mooring a vessel in front of our house would magically make boating effortless. We were wrong—twice.

The Happiest Day of My Life is a Day I Don’t Remember

My daughter SarahKate, son Connor, and daughter-in-law, Samantha were going through a stack of old family pictures. A picture of Connor and SarahKate as teenagers made me pause.“ Wait, what day was that?” I asked. The kids sat on the steps of the porch each holding an orange cat. Our golden retriever, Tucker, sat on the step below them and looked over his shoulder at the cats and the kids…

An Encounter with Time

I married Larry, the high school typing teacher, in a field dotted with bison on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Montana. There is no record of our marriage other than the witnesses that stamped their feet on the frozen grass, but the place where we stood was crowded with lost souls who were forgotten by time but not by Larry.

Social Media Community Writing

I live in Olympia, Washington. It’s the state capital, the home of the now defunct but famous Olympia Brewery, home to the award-winning The Evergreen State College, and it sits at the bottom of Puget Sound, a salt water sea that runs along the inside passage of Western Washington. I raised my children in Olympia and worked for twenty years at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. For several years I wrote a column for two social media community networks, Thurston Talk and Grays Harbor Talk, about unexpected heroes in our town, and I met a delightful group of people.

Writing about others–the fighter jet pilot, the choir director, the state patrolman, the deaf gardener, the estuary director–has been a marvelous way to learn about my community and my neighbors. Lately, I’ve also taken to writing about my family much to their chagrin. There’s plenty of opportunities in social media platforms, online magazines, and community resources to write about one’s memories and the memories of others.