The Sunday Salon: Story Telling

Oh, hello. I’m back.

During any absence from these pages, whatever the reason, my feelings sometimes range from guilt to loneliness to concern that I’ll never write again. 

But after decades of writing, I’ve learned that these fallow periods are good and right. That even when words don’t make their way onto the page, it doesn’t mean they aren’t beginning to move and take shape in deep warm berths inside my brain. 

The past few weeks have been such a time, but also a time filled with other things, with living life and with savoring this glorious summer season.

Filled with storing up - thoughts, experiences, memories.

For much of the time I’ve been away from this page, my three-year old grandson has been visiting us. His parents have been here as well, but as anyone who is a grandparent knows, the adult children generally take a backseat to the new offspring, those wonderful, willful bundles of energy and promise. 

It was so at our house. 

But that too, is right and as it should be. They have come to us in August for three summers now - for each one of Connor’s summers, in fact. I believe he has come to anticipate his annual trip to Michigan with great delight, and more so this year than the others, for this past year saw a monumental leap in his ability to process and store information. 

Part of his anticipation for the visit can be credited to “The Michigan Book.” For the past two years after their visit, I’ve created a hardcover photo book that tells the story of Connor’s trip in words and pictures. His parents tell me he reads the books over and over, recalling and remembering each of those summer stories. As this year’s trip approached, he made a mental list as he went along in his reading. “I want to do that again,” he’d note - of trips to the bakery downtown, of throwing sticks into the small stream that runs behind our house, of taking walks through the neighborhood with our dogs.

Of course each year the book gets larger and larger, as his ability to experience new things grows and changes. This trip we started a running list of things he wanted to include in The Book, and by the time he left we were up to 28 items. 

One of my neighbors, when learning of our “list,” remarked that I was already making a writer of him, already “teaching him to tell his life story.” I loved that comment. How true it is: Connor knows his individual story is important. He knows that preserving even ordinary experiences and moments with words and pictures has great value.

It is right and good.

connor and i making %22the list%22.jpg

I have always believed in the power of STORY to connect us - the stories we read, the stories we write. The stories we tell ourselves about Life In General. I find inspiration and comfort in the stories of others, I take pride and pleasure in sharing my story with you. 

I couldn’t be happier that my grandson has figured that out too.