WHY WE WRITE
BY DIANNE NELSON
We write because we want to remember.
We write because we had writing assignments in school and kind of liked them.
We write because we want to tell our stories.
We tell our stories to our children because they foster a connection between the lives we lived and the lives they are living now.
Our stories define us. They connect us. They become part of what we leave behind.
That’s why we write.
My high school English teacher encouraged my writing. She shared with me the most wonderful quote that still, twenty years later, rings in my head. “We write because the skin forgets.” I don’t remember the rest of that quote. I’ve searched for it many times. Apparently it never got noticed by Google. Still, that moment resonated with me with such clarity that I can still picture that conversation. I can see the classroom, her suit, the color of my desk, the bulletin board—everything is preserved in my memory. The gist of the meaning is that writing encapsulates and defines the feelings that we experience. It makes something tangible (like a hug or a touch or an emotion) so concrete that we remember it, long after we’ve forgotten the actual feel of it on our skin. I love that idea.
So how does this relate to scrapbooking?
For many scrapbookers, this year is the year of Story. Often with our art, it’s the story that comes first. We want to tell the stories of our lives. There are a lot of beautiful scrapbook pages being created every day that showcase beautiful products and amazing techniques. But my favorite pages are the ones that tell the story. I firmly believe that there are no ordinary stories in our lives. Our stories don’t really care about whether or not you used the latest and coolest products and techniques to tell those stories. They just want to be told; they want to be remembered. Scrapbooking is one of the best ways we have to preserve and pass on those stories.
Summer is coming, and with the sunshine comes what feels like a fresh start. As a mom with school-aged kids, I live my life on their timeline. Even though I am no longer in school, I am ready to shuck my books and my long pants and I look forward to loungy days with no real schedule. It’s summer (!), and for me, my goal for summertime is to build memories with my children. It’s the perfect time to try new experiences and go new places. It’s the best time to write new stories.
In our family, our Summer Stories have been a rich part of our lives. We’ve met Mickey Mouse. We’ve been in jail in the 1800’s. We’ve seen some pretty amazing natural wonders like spouting geysers and magnificent redwoods. We’ve flown kites at the beach and raced the surf. We explore and discover—not just the world around us, but our own relationships with each other. This summer, our plans include the quintessential family road trip; we are driving from our home in Oregon to see family in the mid-west. Along the way we plan to visit Yellowstone again, see Mt. Rushmore and possibly do some rock hounding, among other things. It will be good fodder for more terrific stories in the history of our family.
I am already looking forward to writing down the stories we’ll create this summer—from backyard plays to meeting new family members to learning new ways to get along as we are stuck in the car for more than eight hours. It will definitely be a summer filled with new adventures!
Anaïs Nin says “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”
I write to tell my children my stories.
I write because nothing brings me more joy as a mother than feeling that wonderful connection with my children because I shared with them my stories, and in that moment, we understand each other. We’ve connected on an intimate level.
I write because I want to give them something of myself.
I write to record our history together.
I write because the skin forgets.
ABOUT DIANNE : Dianne K. Nelson loves to write about her life, her kids, and what it's like to be a busy mom balancing, work, life, and passions. She's been teaching papercrafting classes at a local store for the past 4 years, and scrapbooking her personal history for the past 12 years. She loves the smell of an ATG gun in the morning and has been appointed the family photographer for all major family gatherings. Her future plans include documenting the extraordinary details of her family's life through her blog and in her scrapbook pages; she's also working on developing ideas for a book. Her six word memoir is "Everything is better when I'm singing."