Came across a copy of the July/August issue of AARP Magazine which contained a superbly written article by Abigail Thomas titled, Everyone Has a Story to Tell.
Ms. Thomas begins by telling the story of her husband's loss of memory when he suffered a traumatic brain injury and how he described the loss. And poses the question, "Who are we without our stories?"
She encourages us to write a memoir -- "a way to figure out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are." And offers dozens of questions to get started.
In Ms. Thomas' classes on memoir writing, she offers this interesting exercise:
Take any ten years of your life and reduce them to two pages. Every sentence has to be three words long -- not two, not four, but three words long.
"You discover there's nowhere to hide in three word sentences. ("Walk by river. Stare at emptiness. Demons still around.")"
Read the article and see what it provokes for you. I loved her many provocative questions -- "write two pages about the moment you knew something was over -- write two pages about something you regret revealing."
Abigail Thomas is the author of three books, Thinking About Memoir, A Three Dog Life, and Safekeeping. (I was pleased to learn that the author's father is Lewis Thomas, whose books I remember fondly from my 30' s -- Lives of a Cell, and The Medusa and the Snail, among others).
I'm going to give her "three word sentences" exercise a whirl. How about you? Which ten years will you start with? Which will I? Should be fun (if not mildly disturbing, depending on which decade is chosen) and may add more information for my ethical will. Let me know your experience with the exercise.