Remember when Harry Potter peers into the Pensieve - a shallow stone bowl used to gather memory - and is thrust into scenes from the past? This is the task of the writer. To look deep into the swirling, silvery mists, take the plunge to the bottom and once there observe the characters, conversations and images of the past. Only then can we process memories and relieve ourselves of their excess burden.
A friend recently told me that some people come to critique groups simply looking for affirmation. When they don't get as much as they would like, they lose hope, returning to the safety of their rooms where the only audience is themselves or those telling them what they want to hear. Please don't let this happen to you. Realize there will be stumbling blocks along the way as you craft your words into story. Nothing worth having comes without practice. That means establishing a writing routine and setting aside time for thought and contemplation.
In this day and age of animosity, discord and political upheaval, what greater gift can we give each other than sharing being human through storytelling?
As the end of summer draws near, I reflect how very special this summer has been for me. My memoir was published on July 28. The comments I am receiving from you - my readers - have been simply incredible. "I laughed and I cried . . . how bittersweet your story is," one woman told me.
A man at the local grocery story who has known me and my sons for years said he couldn't put the book down. "I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. finishing it," he said.
Best of all, my story prompted you to tell me yours. Every day I find a new connection. Together, we have peered into the Pensieve and shared in its power. No writer could ask for more.