Summertime brings a change of routine. If you have children or help to take care of grandchildren, you may find yourself spending extra hours with the kids. Whether you’re still working or not, you probably are scheduling some travel. Your priorities may shift to afford you more time to enjoy the warm outdoors. In the midst of all that, sitting down to write your memoir may fade into the background. Once you lose momentum, it can be difficult to get started again.
Then comes along Independence Day. It’s not one of those Monday holidays that began replacing special dates a few decades ago; it’s always on July 4, no matter when in the week that falls. And that’s not the only way it’s the same celebration as it’s always been for people living in the United States. Just as they did when we were growing up, communities sponsor all sorts of activities, from picnics and 5K runs to fairs and music, typically capping off the day with a fireworks display immediately after dark. Attending these events now, we’re reminded of the many Independence Days that preceded this July 4. We were children along a riverfront, teens at a beach or young parents with our own kids lying on our backs on a blanket in a park, staring straight up at the bursting, colorful shapes lighting up the sky.
Take all of those memories and follow them wherever they may lead you. Perhaps the next day you went back to a fun camp, a tough summer school course or the first job you ever had. You could have been celebrating from afar as you served in the military abroad or toured some exotic city on another continent. Or maybe the memory is bittersweet—the last July 4 fireworks that you enjoyed with a now deceased parent or friend.
Memoir authors often ask us how to trigger memories and how to choose the stories from their life to include in the memoir. Using something like July 4 as a starting point, you may be able to daydream and reminisce your way back to a selection of life episodes that will guide you through a few or more chapters. Happy 4th from Write My Memoirs!