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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Minutiae and Memory

2/10/13 Sunrise
2/10/13 Sunrise

Happy Tuesday, blog readers!  I hope this week is off to a positive start for everyone.

Since the hot water heater broke on Thursday night this weekend was a busy one for me filled with catching up on chores like dishes and laundry.  At least Jason figured out how to get the cold water running again by Friday evening.  On Saturday morning the plumber came and replaced the hot water heater.  All in all, it was a small inconvenience, especially when compared to difficulties facing those hit by the blizzard on the east coast, but it was still a relief to us to have hot running water again.  Oh, how easily we take these small comforts for granted!

One Thing Leads to Another
Older photo of Pogonip near Harvey West Park
Saturday morning Erin and I went for a run (for the second week in a row!  Go us!).  This time Erin took me to a part of the upper UCSC campus trail system that I had never been on before.  We ran in about 2.5 miles to the top of Pogonip and back out again.  It is so much easier to run with a partner!  It is unlikely that I would have run for that length of time (about an hour) or distance on my own.  We got to enjoy the sun rising between redwoods, and saw a coyote at the edge of a large meadow.  Next week we will probably have to go on a shorter run since I have scheduled my first "Family Hike" for this Saturday at Wilder Ranch, but I am excited to have this new social and fitness engagement on my calendar!

Saturday afternoon was a gorgeous, sunny February day, perfect for strolling around downtown. I met up with my mom to help her buy a birthday present for my dad, who turned 62 on Sunday.  I had a shirt to return to Urban Outfitters and my mom picked out some Valentine's and birthday cards for dad at Paper Vision.  We also had lunch at my favorite vegan restaurant, Cafe Gratitude.  Sunday I went to Zumba and then visited my parents for a while.  My dad just felt like laying low for his birthday, so I went over and dropped off a card I had made for him.

I have been struggling to keep up with the online writing course for which I signed up.  Despite struggling to write as much as I would like, I am still  finding the daily emails and prompts inspiring.  I have been successfully using the site 750words.com to write each morning, but these are just "brain dump" type journal entries that may or may not turn into larger writing projects.  The class has been valuable so far in that I am writing daily and I have many creative ideas upon which to expand in the future, but I am not yet sure when to write these or how to introduce them as more than one-off writing exercises.  I just have to remind myself that this is a personal process, and that there is no "right" way to complete the class.  I'm not getting a grade and everyone does not have to like my work the best.  I took the class to help myself get over some of the fears I have around writing, and so far it seems to be working.

A recent writing prompt for this class was to think about memory and what this theme inspires for each writer, and subsequently a thread that I have been exploring in my morning pages is the narrative of my earliest memories.  I have a handful of memories from the time I was born to about three years old.  We lived in the same house during those years and while my memories from that time are few they are extremely vivid.

Me and my mom
This weekend, over lunch, I took the opportunity to ask my mom if these memories were accurate.  For the most part, they were.  I asked her to fill in some of the blanks left in my own reconstructed memories.  I knew, for example, that both of my parents worked during this time.  But I could not remember any child care arrangements.  When she reminded me that a neighbor girl would babysit, another whole set of memories flooded back about being cared for by a babysitter.  I also thought the house had three bedrooms but my mom reminded me there were actually four and one was used as a den.  The den!  I recalled one of my most treasured memories of dancing around the den singing Billy Joel's Glass Houses album karaoke-style into a round, yellow wooden block.

Me and my dad
There are many more gems excavated from these earliest memories, and I plan to turn them into future blog posts or ideally a series of poems.  I find myself more motivated than ever to sit down with my parents and have them tell me their life stories, their memories and recollections, before they are lost to us forever.  I waited too long with my grandparents and now all that is left are the physical artifacts of a time long gone.  I wish I had the personal narratives and stories to attach to, say, my grandmother's handkerchief or granddad's shaving kit.  I wish I had the courage to write their stories while they were still alive to tell them.  I am determined to capture my parents' voices because their memories are the invaluable inheritance that I hope to be able to always treasure.


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