by Nancy Casey
This is the season when you can’t help but take note of the end of the calendar year.
Every day we are reminded about some new superlative: the word of the year, the person of the year, the best music, the best poems, the best pet videos…
Today’s writing is an invitation to simply remember the past year.
Begin with a blank sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle to divide it into two equal halves, left and right. Then draw lines across the page to divide each half into six more-or-less equal parts. The idea is to end up with 12 roughly equal sized rectangles, and a little bit of room for a title at the top.
Label the rectangles with the names of the months of the year, January through December. In each rectangle, write down notes that remind you of what happened in your life during that month.
Fill in as much as you can remember, and then plan to come back to the page later. It is hard to remember so much all at once, but recollections will likely trickle back to you as you go about your day and find yourself wondering things like, “How was January different from February?” or “When did I get those shoes?”
Keep adding things to the page until all the boxes are full. The things you write down don’t have to be “important.”
Certainly you will have months that are easier to fill in than others. When our lives have crises, drama, or excitement, things happen that we don’t forget. We tend to remember the dates of milestones, such as changes in jobs or living situation. With a little bit of nudging, we start remembering other things as well.
If you feel like you aren’t remembering very much, try to zoom in for smaller details. The clothes you wore. What you saw when you went outside. A conversation you had. Doing your laundry. A dessert you ate. Your chores. A joke someone told you. Something you watched.
Give yourself time to get it all filled in. It could take a couple of days. Do as much from memory as you possibly can before you consult a calendar or old social media posts.
Working on this will help you remember the whole year and its many parts. Later on, if you feel the urge to name your personal superlatives, you will do so with lots of authority!
Be sure to give your work a title and to write the date on it somewhere.
Here is an example of what someone could write: http://planetnancy.net/writing-prompts/end-of-year-2017/
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work at http://planetnancy.net/ If you would like her help with a writing project, large or small, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.