Writing Leap #4: The Personal Anecdote
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Hi writers, hope-to-be writers, just-want-to-fool-around-with-writing writers and all you readers who haunt bookstores.
Each of us has had moments in our life that have struck deep, made us belly laugh, grin or showed us something really important.
Writing or reading a personal anecdote is a wonderful way to experience a meaningful moment. And then think about it.
For the writer personal anecdotes tell the story of one specific “scene” in your memory. They are a glimpse into your world. Anything longer than one scene becomes a personal essay.
New Story Line
Sometimes Love Hesitates (and Sometimes it Doesn’t)
Remember, play loose with the story line and let it bring up one scene in your life that shook your heart—in whatever way it did.
Close your eyes, let a memory bubble up, and write a personal anecdote. Promise?
I love the personal anecdote. Sometimes the written word brings back the immediacy of a moment and expands it into forever. A way to let your great-great-great grandchildren peek into your life.
It’s been said by writing teachers and editors that a writer must write what serves the story despite how it may impact family and friends. I wonder. What do you think? Have you ever gotten in trouble with relatives for writing something personal about them?
My personal anecdote is—-personal.
I’m not sure if my husband Garrett is one hundred percent comfortable with the following but he said O.K. to me anyway.
John Denver’s voice and his song, “Grandma’s Feather Bed” filled our car most mornings during our drive to school.
The children knew all the words and sang full out.
I reminded my husband of those long-ago moments as we entered the John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen, Colorado. High up in the Rockies it is almost a secret place where the mountain air is filled with the energy and beauty of his music.
Nobody else was there. We were immersed in such an open cloud-like feeling. The big gray boulders scattered about were all that enclosed us from the never-ending vista of the mountain range beyond.
Garrett took my hand. We meandered in the quiet over to the big granite rocks. The lyrics from many of his songs had been etched on the boulders. “Windsong,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and oh, “Grandma’s Feather Bed.”
We stopped at “Annie’s Song,” carved into one of the larger granite rocks. Garrett smiled at me.
“For you,” he said. And in his beautiful, warm, God-given, loved-filled voice he sang to me.
You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again
People came. The river gurgled. The sun shifted in the cottonwood trees. The moment was over. Not for me. Ever.
Linking The Arts
A phrase I love
Moments of Being is the title of Virginia Woolf’s autobiographical sketches. I used it as a title for my column in the local paper that I wrote in my earlier journalism days.
A concept I’ve embraced for a long time: A full story can expand from one moment.
A pretty blissful place