Looking for a different kind of Mother’s Day gift this year? I’ve got an idea, which may be especially fitting if you happen to be writing your autobiography, memoir, or life story but can be fun and useful for anyone. I have used this exercise often in my classes on Writing Your Life Story and with my clients as personal historian and ghostwriter of autobiographies and memoirs.
Write for ten minutes in response to this Story Spark:
“You would know everything you need to know about my mother if you were around when…”
Try to resist over-thinking about what you will write. Just allow it to flow spontaneously. Don’t worry if it seems too serious, too silly, too maudlin, or too judgmental. Just follow it.
Or, if you would prefer a different angle, write about that one story about your mother that you have found yourself most often repeating both to others who know her and those who do not. You know what that story is. So write about that for ten minutes.
The stories that emerge from these Story Sparks may not capture your mother perfectly and completely – or maybe they will! But even if they don’t get right to the essence of your mother they most likely will get you going, freeing you up to remember and to chronicle countless other reflections and observations that are just waiting for you to record. It doesn’t matter if your mother is still a part of your life or if she passed away years or decades ago.
And if you write something in the next week that you believe your mother might enjoy hearing and she is still with us, perhaps you’ve got yourself that different kind of Mother’s Day gift?
– Kevin Quirk is a personal historian who writes memoirs and autobiographies for women and men of all ages and backgrounds. He is the author of Your Life Is a Book – And it’s to Write It!