Monday, August 31, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ Weddings


Today would have been my parent's 53rd wedding anniversary. With our son's wedding just a bit over a week ago, the taking of vows has been on my mind a lot. So today's memior assignment is to write about your wedding day...or go ask your parents or grandparents about their day.

Actually, it was a few pages in a journal I found after my mother's death which inspired Memoir Monday. Three handwritten pages she had penned about her wedding day. The fun they'd had getting married in my dad's parent's house, the flowers, the cake, the people who made the small wedding a pleasure. There was a page and a half about how my parents glossed through their three day honeymoon to come back to their rental house early. Unfortunately they didn't have a key, but my enterprising dad managed to 'break' in so they could settle in. I could feel her happiness and delight come through those pages. Have I mentioned that my mom was a sweet sixteen bride and my dad a mature twenty year old? (I know, I know!)

When I found that journal and read the story, I wept. I cried, in part, because my grief was still fresh, but I wept because there was no more. Only those few pages. The rest of the journal was blank. How I wanted more! My mother probably wrote those lines after she was sick. Probably after she realized she wasn't getting out of breast cancer alive. I imagine she wanted to fill that book up with the story of her life...but she didn't have the strength emotionally to go back into it all...or perhaps it was a simple matter of little physical strength. I'll never know. All I know is this daughter was greedy for more.

That's what Memoir Mondays are bits and pieces you can capture the stories of your life. Every year you can print them out, bind them into a book or notebook, and shelve them. Your children, grandchildren, and great-grands will love having an eye witness account of your life and times. Include photos when ever you can.

Now--go write.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creativity, Venting, and Change

Do you ever vent?

Blow off steam?

Griping to your spouse about your boss or your child's school situation. Complaining to your best friend about your mother in law or your wayward cousin. Moaning and groaning to anyone who will listen about your inability to create because of your time commitments outside your studio.

Me, too.

The thing is, venting is non-productive. Yes, it makes you feel better in the short term. You get to have your say and someone who loves you makes murmuring noises in support of you.

But nothing's changed.

Let's consider history for a moment. These terms, 'venting' and 'letting off steam', come from one of history's significant inventions--the steam engine. For the first time, a person didn't have to depend on the variables of the wind or tide. Nor did a person have to harness an animal's muscle or his own to move a load from one point to another. A hot fire under a vat of water turned the water into steam vapor.The resulting vapor built up pressure and was eventually forced into an engine where the pressure powered pistons and turned gears. A steam engine could move comparably huge loads of men and cargo with little effort. Across a bay or up and down a river using a steamboat or across a sprawling continent with the railroad. Steam was the most powerful fuel of it's day.

To be effective, steam has to be captured and directed. An uncovered pot of water boiling on the stove is not going to move anything. Heat applied to a closed container of water will build pressure. If that pressure is piped correctly, that pressure will move a piston which moves a gear which moves a wheel which moves boat, train engine, or steam shovel. As long as that pressure remains, things move.

When we 'vent' we are like the pot busily boiling on the stove...there's a lot of heat, a lot of bubbles, a lot of steam. But nothing moves. All that energy wasted.

Whatever is causing a hot spot under your pot...don't boil and bubble to your buddies. Use that energy to power a change in your life. In other words, don't complain without doing something to fix the situation.

Break the venting habit. No 'letting off steam' this week. Use that energy to find a way to modify the situation or your attitude about it. Even doing one small thing can make a difference.

If you dare, leave a comment about what you vent about most frequently. And what small or large thing you will do at the first available opportunity to make a change in the situation.

Me? I'm going to quit griping about not having as much time as I want or need to create and MAKE some time in my life.

I'm going to write a few letters and make a couple of phone calls to some folks about important issues.

It's a start.

“Steam is no stronger now than it was a hundred years ago but it is put to better use” -Ralph Waldo Emerson (American poet)

"No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.” -Joan Rivers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ The Week Before....


Here at Chateau Creative Soul, we are in crazy mode. Our son's wedding day is T-minus six days and counting. Prayers are being said for good weather for the outdoor ceremony....stacks of wedding decor materials are multiplying....and the lists of things to be done seems to be getting longer, not shorter.

Thus, the inspiration for today's Memoir Monday. When have you been 'behind the scenes' of a big deal family event--a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday, a reunion, a holiday dinner....? What craziness happened? Who forgot to order something important? What were the costs involved? What did you make or create just for the event? Don't forget to detail the food and clothing.

Fifty years from now, your grandchildren will appreciate your memoir.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ Family Visits


A week or two ago, some of our favorite people came for a visit~the Pilot Guy's youngest brother, his wife, and two teenagers. Together we shopped, watched baseball games, shopped some more, ate too much, stayed up too late, and laughed a lot.

In my growing up family as well as the Pilot Guy's family, relatives were welcome in our home all the time. In fact, it was a sign of something gone terribly wrong if the relatives didn't stay in your home.

Today's Memoir assignment is to write, draw, paint, or compose about your remembrances of family visits. Vacations, holidays, or other trips...who came to your house?

Did Grandmother and Granddad kick you out of your room? Did you have cousins sleeping on pallets on the floor of the living room? Who did the preparations for visitors? Did everyone pitch in to help clean and cook? Were you a formal bunch or loud and rowdy?

Was your family one of the ones that never hosted guests? What are your memories of being a guest in your grandmother's or aunt's home?

How have you changed from how your parent's or grandparent's generation did this?

I can't wait to see what you dig around and find in your memories this week.

One other thing...some of you know we are in the middle of planning a wedding this month. In fact, it is in less than two weeks. (YIKES!) In our backyard. (August. Texas. Outdoors. Are we brave or what?) I'm not blogging much because I simply don't have many working brain cells left at the end of the day. That's too bad, too, because now that I think of it, blogging is relaxing and refreshing. We will see what happens...

After the wedding...some exciting stuff will be happening here at Creative Soul. Thanks to each and everyone of you who read. You make my day!