Once Upon a Time…
What is the word upon my soul,
that begs everything to come alive
with the beating of my heart,
the blood coursing through my veins,
the in and out of breath,
that was shallow… lifeless
before You called me,
before You spoke my name.
I turn the pages of my past
and I see brokenness,
in the midst of hellfire
tender hearts cry out,
the eyes say it all.
What is the story that wants
to be written.
With arms stretched out,
my head slumps down…
What voice beckons
to be heard.
Can I take what’s hard to examine
and make beauty of it.
Will I see You
there beside me
through it all.
Through Your eyes
will I see.
Through Your ears
will I hear.
Through Your heart
will I feel.
Promise me You’ll not let me
Promise me You’ll not let me
waste, while and whither
always learning and never knowing
What needs to be asked.
What needs to be seen.
What needs to be heard
in the word upon my soul.
There are several ways to write a memoir. Perhaps the easiest is to just sit down and write about whatever memories come up, then sift through and see what theme or patterns would become apparent.
I’ve been sifting and sorting through the recesses of my mind, and I became determined (maybe obsessed is a better description) with having just one word that would claim me. In a Life Worthy of One Simple Word I explore this notion.
My one word did indeed demand my attention… the theme that will inform and guide me in my memoir writing process… I’m not ready to divulge it just yet, but it stands as the working title of my book.
Now, as I’ve sat down to begin the actual writing… yes, I could simply begin, but before I do… before I get in too deep… new questions arise. Questions that will impact everything.
In what voice shall I write? From which perspective?
I don’t just want to blather on about things that happened. That’s for journaling. I want it to be exploratory, informative and interesting to write and to read.
Maybe I’m procrastinating. Maybe I’m making it harder than it needs to be. But, then again maybe the story has a mind of its own and its working to get my attention, so that I don’t get in the way and muddle it up.
I think sometimes we forget to soften into quiet moments, or even to create space for our minds and our hearts to listen to the gentle whispers of our soul.
We’re so anxious to move forward, to take steps, to be actively doing something. Our worlds so noisy, so busy, so demanding with doingness. What happened to being and feeling the presence of the moment?
My day had been planned. The photos would come out and it would all be revealed. Then I would be able to dive in and write.
The photos did come out. Memories and feelings swamped me. My head did indeed slump down in empathy. My cheek resting on an old beat up album, and I asked the questions.
I waited. I listened. I waited some more. I reflected on my artworks… on the photos… on a notebook I purchased specifically for times I would need to write, pen to paper, ideas or thoughts for the book.
Some things need to percolate.
I have a fascination with notebooks. Maybe all writers do. I love mine to find me and not let me walk away.
Sorry honey, the dollar store kind, they’re the ones thrown in the compartment in the car, when I need something I can scribble on and tear out. But, to write with, really write with… we need to have a relationship.
I love to love how they feel in my hands. How does the cover feel and what does it say, if anything? What about the design? The line spacing… it needs to be just right. Not too squished together and not too far apart… just right that I don’t feel restrictive, but not wasteful either.
My most recent purchase, the one specifically for my memoir is a simple black leather notebook. It has a strap to wrap around it. It makes me feel like a writer with a purpose. And, embossed in silver on the cover is the phrase,
‘Once upon a time…’
Hmmm… Once upon a time… long long ago…
I don’t know why, but it invites me to open my mind… to possibilities.
Writing is a way for me to lean in close… to listen and explore the world God created inside me.
I’m well into reading the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, ‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt and there is one line (just one line in the whole book) that I have highlighted on page 202.
“It’s lovely to know the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head.”
I stopped. I smiled. I nodded… yes, indeed.