In March I departed for the Pacific Northwest and the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat; three days spent in the Cascade Mountains, devouring local grub and IPAs, communing with fellow writers and learning from some pretty impressive memoirists. (side note: there is talk of repeating the retreat next year, so aspiring memoir writers take note). Organizer and instructor, Theo Pauline Nestor, led my favorite session: “It’s Not JUST About You”. She introduced me to the concept of writers using memoir to tell a bigger story about the world we live in. I had an inkling of that, but when she explained it in detail, using memoirs by Cheryl Strayed and Joan Didion (writers I admire) to illustrate her point, the proverbial light bulb dinged above my head. This was what I needed — a way to connect my writing to the bigger picture, the shared humanity we all face.
I remember the first time I encountered Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. I was in 6th grade and Miss Clark had given us the poem to memorize. When I shared this news with my dad, he instantly perked up (let’s face it, elementary school homework doesn’t often elicit parental joy). But this time? Here was his favorite poem — something he could share with his daughter in the form of homework disguised as life lesson. He sat with me as I attempted to commit each line to memory, reciting the verses ad nauseam.
” I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Every day my mouse hovers near the WordPress Dashboard link on my Bookmarks Bar and never once makes it to the “click” phase. With each passing day I felt a little guiltier like I’m neglecting an important writing outlet. After all, I write nearly every day: working on short stories, outlining new ideas, the occasional pitch. I am, dare I say, prolific? Yet a blog post is seemingly out of reach and I wonder how many other bloggers struggle with the start-stop-start of blogging?
Six weeks are enough of a lag time though and let’s face it, the type-A girl that I am would be mortified if you looked at my archives and noticed there was a month missing (see: March and July 2012, not to be repeated). In thinking about my first foray back to blogdom after an extended absence I couldn’t decide on a topic, so I figured a brief synopsis on five events that would have been separate blog posts had I got my act together: