the importance of memory
Kids love to share memories. Nothing beats a 10-year-old saying, "When I was little...". Memory defies time; even though as we age, we define our memories by time.
When I was a kid...
Last year, I remember...
This reminds me of when I was in college, and...
Memory defines us. Memory is experience, emotion, friendship. It is the collection of moments that form who we were and who we have become. There is an importance to memory.
So it shouldn't really surprise me when a young child wants to share her memories. Memories connect us.
This past month, I've been fortunate to spend several hours visiting and reading to elementary students. I have shared various chapters from my middle grade narrative, "This Girl Climbs Trees". In one class, I was moved to laughter and tears as students shared memories of trees in their lives. One girl told of a beautiful lemon tree that sat in the yard, from which they did not remove the fruit but which offered a place of shade and beauty until her father cut it down. Another boy told of a tree at his former home that the neighbor insisted be removed due to its invasive roots and dead leaves on their property. This injustice troubled the boy, and he insisted his family's next home have a tree further from any neighbor's yard. They just planted a Birch.
They have a wide front yard.
The students' stories inspired me. I had no idea that Eliza Mills (the central character) had so much in common with real live kids. I made up Eliza. I made up the entire story. Yet real children (and adults) continue to share with me their memories of a favorite tree.
So I'd like to offer this challenge: In 150 words or less, write a memory of your tree. How did you connect with it? What do you now observe as the importance of this tree, this memory? Post your short passage here or on your own site. Paste a link in the comments below so that we can read it.
You might be surprised what comes up as you explore the importance of memory. I'll post mine this week. You have forever, but I will shout out my favorite on Twitter next Sunday. Please connect with me there and leave your Twitter handle here. If you are under 18, please let me know so you can get your own awesome shout out!
Thanks! Good luck.
6/1/2014 06:16:57 am
We lost a lot of trees in a tropical storm a few years ago. Heartbreaking! I posted the pic on twitter. You can see the treehouse that fell out of it on the way down :-(. http://twitter.com/JoanneRock6
6/1/2014 07:20:42 am
Joanne, that tree wants you to tell us its story! I see the tag below. Was this your child's treehouse? How long was it around before a hurricane came in to town?
6/4/2014 01:43:56 pm
Here's my effort:
6/4/2014 05:20:04 pm
I think memory is very important although maybe it is not the memory that makes you who you are but life events and how you deal with them. Some you will remember some you won't. As a memoirist memory plays a huge role in my writing. Your olive tree sounds like our mulberry tree which left us and our clothes purple. It gave my Mum the horrors particularly when a bird ate the mulberries and they then released them over her washing line. I'll put on the thinking cap for my tree memory.
6/5/2014 12:34:24 am
Irene, I think as we age, our events become lodged within foggy memories. For me, when I recall a past event, I'm not sure what's real and what I've jumbled through time. It does help when you have someone else who shared events to sort through the real and imagined. I guess the truest memories are shared.
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