Thursday, February 2, 2012

Saving Purpose for Later

For those who don’t belong to BlogHer with its millions of women bloggers and writers, take the time to investigate the network, or risk always wondering what you’ve missed.

Me? I’m taking the NaBloPoMo challenge for the month of February. Facebook followers probably already know that. This month’s challenge is themed “Relative,” encouraging all of us to blog each day about some member of our families. It’s an opportunity to blog about those well-loved, others dismissed, those who confuse, or whatever family member that strikes the writer’s fancy on that day.

Considering my perverse nature, I began at the end of my definition of family and am working my way forward to those who comprise my nuclear family.

This challenge is allowing me to take a good look at people that I’ve not brought to the foreground in a long time. It’s also giving me all sorts of ideas for stories, articles, and poems.

Through this exercise I realized not just how energizing memory fishing with such a purpose can be for me, but also how well it generates its own kind of creativity. Bits and pieces of long-buried memory float to the surface: nothing major, sometimes only a face, a voice, or an image of someone’s hands. Still, that’s enough to trigger another idea, a vision to be fleshed out later.

This exercise--this blog challenge--has become a creative tool for me, to serve up a purpose for later as a kind of dessert at my writer’s dining table.

First, I get to review all of those I’ve considered members of my family. I get to observe, at a distance, who these people were when I first knew them. I’m encouraged by my inner voice to compare that to who they are now in my life. I get to remember those who’ve left this world and how they were connected to me during their lives.

And, secondly, this mental review of people and animals creates a gallery of characters in a kind of mix and match way to provide all that I need for the rest of my years of writing, whether poetry or stories, if I so choose.

Do you realize how much power that is, how much material? Does any writer know this until the day arrives when the family memories are sifted for a purpose outside the writer’s own daydreams? I wonder.

As in so many other ways, we take our families for granted, I think, regarding how much writing material they provide simply by hanging out inside our heads. Now that I realize the extent of their contribution, I’m going to keep visiting that gallery to find more portraits to bring out into the light and show others.

Have you visited your family gallery lately? Have you done character studies on all of them for those masterpieces of prose and verse that wait to be penned? It’s never too late to start. Just look at how long I took. Don’t put it off. There’s a prize winner in there somewhere. 

If you don’t believe, ask the writers of memoir. They know.

Until later,



  1. Hi Claudette,

    Glad to have found your blog from Ellen's. :) Some times the stories my parents tell about their childhood fascinate me, and I wish to put bits of those to my works-in-progress. A review on our family could be a huge, emotional challenge. Best of luck with NaBloPoMo!


  2. Thanks, Claudine. I'm glad you stopped by for a look-see. It's definitely an emotional challenge. The plotting possibilities are paid for by the bouts with emotional boxing rounds that leave one weak in the knees some days.

    The potential for some writing that is terribly good making its way onto the page, however, outweighs the overall moments of discomfort.

    Good luck to you as well.