by Diane Attwell Palfrey
Due to many circumstances this year, it has been very difficult for me to find time to write. During those periods of wilderness, I feel like something is missing. Words are pent up inside until I feel like I’ll explode. But often the busyness of life prevents me from getting those words to paper. If the sabbatical goes on too long, I feel stuck – my illusive muse is nowhere to be found.
A great way to break out of writers block and time constraints is to have some wilderness busters scheduled. That way, it’s in your calendar and will get some attention. One of mine favourite things to do is attend a workshop or a retreat. There is nothing like a well-presented and interactive workshop to awaken creativity. The quest for knowledge, information, or just being in the know has always been important to me. So when a special invitation came my way, I couldn’t pass it up. A select group of writers/professional communicators & bloggers were asked to participate in a trial run of “Timesketch” A Memoir Development Program. This comprehensive program was created and facilitated by businessman and aboriginal rights advocate Peter Smith and cohosted by Crista Renner, Director of Communications, Juice Inc.
We only received enough prior information to pique our interest. So when arriving at the Holiday Inn in Guelph, none of us had any idea how the day would develop. Tables were covered in notebooks, coloured markers, crayons, cans of playdough and multi-coloured stress balls. I knew right then that this was going to be a fun-filled day.
It had never occurred to me to write my memoirs. Who would be interested in reading the foibles and drudgery of my journey? But after hearing the numerous stories people shared throughout the day, I realized that everyone has something to say – something of interest – funny anecdotes or snippets of inspiration garnered by life experience. Black sheep people (and we all know who we/they are) may have more to say then others and it could be a lot juicier and a very interesting read. If nothing else, it is a wonderful legacy to leave behind for families. Consider examining where you’ve been and gather your timesketches. Capture wonderful family stories and put them on paper before the older generation is no longer here to share it with. In my spare time (not sure when that is anymore), I ask my mother about family history, attitudes and beliefs etc. I have learned so much about my family that I never knew. If you have the questions, someone has the answers or at least some of the answers. And if no one ever reads your memoirs, it is still a great writing exercise.
Diane was born in Toronto and has lived in Cambridge for the past twenty-two years. She is a poet and prose writer. Diane is a member of the Cambridge Writers Collective and has poetry published by the Waterloo-Wellington CAA, Serengeti Press, Craigleigh Press, Hammered Out, The Ontario Poetry Society, Cruickston Charitable Research Reserve/RARE, & Ascent Aspirations Magazine. Diane is also the first place winner of the Cambridge Arts Festival Poetry Contest for 2009 and 2010.