​Enthusiastic Puppies (whistling for stories...)

My sister is preparing for a move and has been going through her things.  She has been busy donating, throwing away, and reminiscing. Yesterday, she showed me some of her personal archeology. 
 
It was fun to read her report cards from Gompers elementary school. I loved the fun in her eyes as she showed me her Girl Scout purse and badges.  I could almost smell the ice when I touched the blue and white pompoms from her childhood ice skates.
 
Each of these things triggered memories that had dwelled unthought-of for many years.  They brought back our childhood stories.  We touched them with reverence. They made us laugh.  They made me jealous.
 
I have none of that, and I don’t know why. I wished I had a box of similar treasures. I loved being transported by the things in that box.
 
Things are memory triggers, but they are not the only ones.  Mental images are triggers too, and they can be called upon, even if they are not unearthed in a long forgotten box.  We all hold story boxes in our memories.  They are often buried and dusty, but once called upon, they come running towards us like enthusiastic puppies.
 
Here is an easy example: What was your first phone number?  I bet you can rattle it off without thinking about it.  Mine was TR8-2141. I don’t remember my last phone number, but I will always have the first one on my internal speed dial. I bet you do too.
 
I invite people to play with these things in my writing workshop Painting With Words.  We use prompts to call stories to us like those puppies.  During the full-day retreats, we also focus on mindfulness in the midst of the smells, sounds, sights and textures of nature, and we try our hand at short fiction. Please visit the Painting With Words page to learn about upcoming events. 

I am in the process of developing an online version of Painting With Words, and I work with people individually via Skype. Unearthing my own stories, and leading others to theirs, are two of my greatest joys. 
 
Do you want to write with me?

8 comments

  • harry

    harry maine

    enthusiastic puppies... a musical metaphor. You have cool ideas. different from mine. . . . But the stories i thought of while looking for the enthusiastic puppies were traumatic, uncomfortable, dark images from my past. i backed off those and returned to mining for new old ones; but the joy was shortlived. A rush of chest tightness took over. The insistent memories became as frustrating as a child-proof lid. i am grateful for this opportunity to take a look at those thoughts. thank you D

    enthusiastic puppies... a musical metaphor. You have cool ideas. different from mine. . . . But the stories i thought of while looking for the enthusiastic puppies were traumatic, uncomfortable, dark images from my past. i backed off those and returned to mining for new old ones; but the joy was shortlived. A rush of chest tightness took over. The insistent memories became as frustrating as a child-proof lid. i am grateful for this opportunity to take a look at those thoughts. thank you D

  • Debbie Fox

    Debbie Fox Wynnewood, PA

    I couldn't agree with you more about how artifacts of our childhood call back strong memories. I also wish I had saved more items, like the blue and white pompons on your sister's ice skates.

    I couldn't agree with you more about how artifacts of our childhood call back strong memories. I also wish I had saved more items, like the blue and white pompons on your sister's ice skates.

  • Denise

    Denise

    Harry, I have often felt healed by writing though tears, or anger or anxiety. If you can, write through it, keep your hand moving. You will find treasure. I wish you could come to my class!

    Harry, I have often felt healed by writing though tears, or anger or anxiety. If you can, write through it, keep your hand moving. You will find treasure. I wish you could come to my class!

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks for your thoughts Debbie. Those old artifacts are precious! I still remember your toe shoes. They fascinated me...

    Thanks for your thoughts Debbie. Those old artifacts are precious! I still remember your toe shoes. They fascinated me...

  • Bryan Abes

    Bryan Abes Kennett square, PA

    Hey D! I do remember that story from a while back. Just a couple weeks ago, my parents were cleaning out there closets and found a bunch of cases of very old pictures of my sisters and I as little kids, and each picture brought back the memory of what was in the picture. I also have old composition books and journals from elementary school. I love reading old stories that I wrote. I had forgotten a lot of them until I read them again . I've always had the extraordinary, unique mind that you know me to have today. Your story "enthusiastic puppies" is so heart warming and resonates with me a lot. -Bryan

    Hey D! I do remember that story from a while back. Just a couple weeks ago, my parents were cleaning out there closets and found a bunch of cases of very old pictures of my sisters and I as little kids, and each picture brought back the memory of what was in the picture. I also have old composition books and journals from elementary school. I love reading old stories that I wrote. I had forgotten a lot of them until I read them again . I've always had the extraordinary, unique mind that you know me to have today. Your story "enthusiastic puppies" is so heart warming and resonates with me a lot.
    -Bryan

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Hey Bryan, I love visiting with old pictures. I bet those stories you found are treasures. I am glad my story resonated with you. Thanks for commenting...

    Hey Bryan, I love visiting with old pictures. I bet those stories you found are treasures. I am glad my story resonated with you. Thanks for commenting...

  • harry david

    harry david maine

    quite surprising that i had the same reaction as 8 months ago. unpleasant memories seem to be closer to the surface these days. My time in your life is filled with fond memories. Sitting face to face writing a song, Raviolis, the Playground, downtown Doylestown, Joni, Clan of the Cavebear, Folk Fest, art/craft shows ... many others better left for a live discussion. thank you for triggering these positive thoughts. i will spend some time with these enthusiastic puppies

    quite surprising that i had the same reaction as 8 months ago. unpleasant memories seem to be closer to the surface these days. My time in your life is filled with fond memories. Sitting face to face writing a song, Raviolis, the Playground, downtown Doylestown, Joni, Clan of the Cavebear, Folk Fest, art/craft shows ... many others better left for a live discussion. thank you for triggering these positive thoughts. i will spend some time with these enthusiastic puppies

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Made me smile Harry D... :)

    Made me smile Harry D... smile

Add comment