I remember

Last weekend a few wonderful writers (Lindsey, Denise & Lisa to name three) whose blogs I love attended a magical retreat on memoir writing by the oh-so-talented Dani Shapiro. One of the exercises they were given, inspired by Joe Brainerd’s memoir, I Remember, was to write for 10 minutes, started every sentence with I remember.

If you click the links above, you will read some of what they wrote in that 10 minutes. They invited all of us to join them. Here is part of what I wrote. Please join in and add your I remembers to the comments or leave a link to your blog post.

I remember…

I remember my mother’s 40th birthday party, the people laughing, the cake with the chocolate curls.

I remember the bus trip into Toronto the day my beloved Maggie died and I knew my childhood was over.

I remember falling in love with my first boyfriend in a dream and waking up to know it was true.

I remember the long-distance love, the first horrible hangover, the move across the country. I remember the flowers in winter, outside our first apartment. I remember falling out of love – or at least thinking I had. I remember being afraid to be fully me.

I remember the man who worked the cafeteria with the liquid gold eyes.

I remember never being the right one for the ones I thought were right.

I remember my crush on the teacher and the day we drew portraits of each other and I was the only one he missed.

I remember the feel of the studio space, the magical light and the way the toilets never flushed.

I remember getting the job, rearranging my life, packing the car and starting the journey of a lifetime.

I remember the river, the town, the way Lynn held Tracy’s hand and how it all made sense years later when I found out they were sleeping together.

I remember being young and foolish.

I remember the northern lights and the crunch of the snow in the quiet darkness.

I remember my grandmother’s face – but only because I can see my favorite picture of her clearly in my mind’s eye.

I remember the first miscarriage, the decorated Easter egg and the hike up the mountain to say goodbye.

I remember the words, It’s a girl. I remember the joy.

I remember the phone call on Mother’s Day, 2009 and thinking I was hearing the words, Jamie died. I remember helping her mother pack up her book collection. I remember the look in her mother’s eyes.

I remember hoping I would never lose a child.

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11 Responses to I remember

  1. Powerful. Gave me chills.

  2. Lindsey says:

    These are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing – feel like I’ve gotten an intimate glance at your history! xox

  3. Oh how I remember being young and foolish too. Do you suppose we ever really outgrow that?

    So glad you joined in!!

  4. Christa says:

    This is just plain wonderful. I love this practice – little windows into the souls of my friends, a way to learn about your history, just really lovely.

    Thank you…

  5. “I remember never being the right one for the ones I thought were right.”

    The simplicity of this sentence is just right, as it brings pain and hurt and self-awareness with it. I get the feeling it could begin a bigger journey/story.

    So glad you joined up!

  6. I remember my grandfather telling me the story of him and his pals playing stick ball with grenades from WW1, and him hitting one and it went over the trees and blew up when it hit a headstone in the cemetery.
    I remember telling him he couldn’t die until I got married, and him laughing and saying ” nobody lives forever.”
    I remember fighting with my father because I wanted to be one of his attendants even though I was a female.

  7. denise says:

    I so absolutely enjoyed reading your I Remembers. A poignant mix of happy and deeply sad. Just beautiful. So glad you joined in! xo

  8. Roos says:

    Dear Alana, and Lindsey, Denise and Lisa as wel (because I’m sure you’ll check back here ;-)),
    What a powerful writing tool you are given! And you definitely made the most out of it. Somehow, all your “i remembers” made me deeply deeply sad. It made me reflect on how I see the past, so often not as a place where happy memories are stored. The extent to which I am wrong about that, hit me again today after reading your lines.
    Thank you for the eyeopener!
    -x-

  9. vera kate says:

    It’s so interesting how the mind tends to jump about when one lets it. I was nervous to do this, but came out relatively unscathed — and also drummed up a beautiful memory which I’d nearly forgotten that I had. Thanks for sharing, and for passing on the invitation. xo

    http://verakatehadley.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-remember.html

  10. Pamela says:

    Wow. Love this! I also love how not only do you list your memories, but you write them with such perspective and grace.

  11. Krista says:

    Such a great exercise. Thank you for sharing.

    I remember sharing the sad news of loosing baby Jackson. I remember how awful it felf to make my sisters & father cry.

    I remember how wonderful my husband was when I got home from the hospital.

    I remember how quick my friends responded to my request for help.

    I’ll never forget how kind you are.

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