GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 44

leaving a legacy Writing small moments By Mary-Colleen Jenkins An easy way to begin your memoirs think of ourselves as recording elements of our lives rather than writing an autobiography, we can free ourselves of the notion that this project is bigger than we are. We are our own harshest critics; we tend to focus only on what we don’t like. Just remember that the people we are recording these small moments for are interested in what they’re learning about us, not in how we express it. • So…be yourself. Kids and grandkids know you and are curious about you…they want to hear your “voice,” not some unrecognizable academic tone. • Writing may seem time consuming, but all we need is 10 or 15 minutes at a stretch— think of it as your writing “coffee break.” • Consider your project to be a patchwork A nne-MArie FArley bought a couple of au- tobiography journals to give to her parents. “I thought it would be nice for my boys to learn something about their grandparents,” she says. Farley’s parents were delighted with the gifts, but months have passed and so far, neither has started writing in them. Why not? The journals offer writing prompts, brief questions that the writer can answer any way he or she chooses, but both of the Flynns admit that it’s not the project that limits them as much as their expectations that it is something they will need time and focus and discipline to finish. What holds us back? Expectations. Nerves. Lack of time. We’ve all seen comic images of the lonely writer slumped at her desk with a pile of crumpled drafts at her feet. However, if we or collage rather than a fully fleshed-out text. Work with lists, phrases, descriptive words or small batches of sentences instead of paragraphs and pages. For example, if I wanted to capture the essence of my grandfather— whom my kids never had a chance to meet—I might quickly write a list of words or phrases that call him to mind: “Bucko,” knocking tobacco out of pipe, lighting with match, fragrant smoke, reader, joker, was he a leprechaun?, magic tricks, great laugh, big reader, squeaky chair, spiffy dresser, bear hugs. • Free write—throw the traditional rules of writing right out the window. It can be surprising what we can come up with when we’re not censoring ourselves as we write. • Set aside a short time limit, say 5 minutes at first, then build up to 10 or 15. • As quickly as you can, write whatever is on your mind. Don’t worry about corrections 44 GRAND JUNE 2009 Click and connect to more resources instantly where you see this symbol: 

GRAND Magazine - June 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - June 2009

GRAND Magazine - June 2009
Contents
GRAND Central
Poppy Joe
A Whole New Ball Game
Happy Trails
Pool Safe
Running Together
Notes from the Peanut Gallery
Ask GRAND
Inspirations
Leaving a Legacy
Writing Small Moments
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - intro
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Magazine - June 2009
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 4
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 11
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 17
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 18
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 20
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Poppy Joe
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 23
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 24
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - A Whole New Ball Game
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Happy Trails
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Pool Safe
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Running Together
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Notes from the Peanut Gallery
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 36
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Ask GRAND
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Inspirations
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 41
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Leaving a Legacy
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 43
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Writing Small Moments
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 45
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 46
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 48
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 49
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 51
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 52
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 53
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover4
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