Memoirs can take many forms. Not being a very visually oriented person (not being a visually oriented person at all, my fashion-conscious teenage daughter might tell you), I think more in terms of words than pictures, but pictures can certainly be another valuable way to narrate a memoir, as any photojournalist or even scrapbooker will tell you.
Yesterday an idea came to me. I read a lot about gratitude journals, but I’ve never tried to keep one – not because I don’t believe in their value but because I feel like for me it would be almost redundant. I write in a traditional journal every morning and often mention what I’m feeling grateful for. It doesn’t seem necessary to keep a discrete list.
But I do like taking pictures. And yesterday an image I came across seemed particularly story-worthy to me. But in what format? It wasn’t multi-faceted enough for an essay, and it wasn’t whimsical enough for a Facebook post. It was just a tableau that filled me with a sudden unexpected sense of joy – of gratitude.
So the idea that came to me was to take one photo every day that expressed a daily gratitude – one image showing something, anything, about that day that reflected something for which I was feeling grateful, and include an explanatory caption.
I’m going to give it a try. Maybe it won’t be every day. Maybe it will get too repetitive: lots of photos of the fields in which I walk the dog, for instance, or the sight of my daughter getting off the school bus. Maybe it’s not even that great an idea.
But it’s another take on memoir-writing, and that has intrinsic appeal to me. There are so many ways to tell your story. If you are not a writer, maybe this idea will appeal to you more. Not a gratitude journal but a gratitude photo-essay of sorts. And for me, it’s good to push the envelope and work with images rather than words for a change. Below is my first entry. What do you think?
As always, if you need advice, inspiration, guidance or consultation on your own memoir project – be it words, photos, or still nothing more than ideas, please be in touch any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.