|"The Boyhood of Raleigh" by Sir John Everett Millais, oil on canvas, 1870|
In the above painting a seafarer is telling the young Sir Walter Raleigh and his brother the story of what happened at sea. Before books, radio, and movies/TV we had to rely on hand-me-down stories like depicted above for our stories. Stories are important.
It is why I keep a journal and volumes of photo albums. They tell the story of my life. Like this photo...
...which tells the story of my first dog, Tuffy, who I was too young to remember. It looks as though I really loved him--I'm petting him at both ends!
I'm in the process of collecting my childhood memorabilia so I can write my childhood story. I want to leave it for my children and my children's children so they will know how they came to be in one small part. So far it is just a collection of events and people, but I want it to tell a story--my story. So I'm letting it all stew for awhile to see what rises to the surface.
The elements of a story are characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. I already have my characters, setting, and conflicts for my story. As the writer I need to uncover the plot and the resolution. Do our lives have plots? And are the conflicts ever resolved? I'm hoping by writing my childhood memoir I'll discover the answers to these questions.
If I were to choose a dance for each chapter of my life they'd be the Bunny Hop for my childhood, Quadrille for my young married adult, and the Twist for motherhood.
I'm calling this last chapter in my life the last Waltz. It is a fitting dance because I still have my partner and together we will glide around the ballroom holding each other as we negotiate the turns that lay ahead of us.
Ah, that life would be so simple for each of us--the steps memorized and performed accordingly. No, I think Freestyle is probably more like what really happens in our dance of life. In fact, the Freestyle link lists these seven tips for how to dance freestyle:
1. Get comfortable with yourself.
2. Move your body with the music.
3. Get to know the song if you don't already.
4. Put together a few moves.
5. Make big transitions during the dance.
6. Have inspiration.
7. Have fun with it.
It sounds like a pretty good list for life, too.