If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I believe that everyone has a story (multiple) to tell. You also know I believe that generations want and need to know the stories of their predecessors. Although one of my uncles wrote about our family tree—complete with locations, births, marriages, children, occupations, and deaths—my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles never wrote their personal stories. And I so wish they had.
I’ve heard many would-be writers say they are intimidated by the thought of writing a memoir. I agree. The thought of writing a compilation of decades of my life daunted me for years. But when I thought about my life in snippets, it freed my mind.
Aristotle prescribed writing in threes: one place, at one time, with one action. When I followed that advice and focused on one place, one time, one action, writing became less formidable. With that mindset, I wrote multiple short stories. Some of the stories made it into a memoir I am currently working on; some did not, but the stories are in writing for my kids and grandkids to read.
So how about writing a short story? Find a photo of one event and tell the story. What is in the foreground? What is behind the camera and not seen in the photo? Use childlike curiosity in describing the details of place, time, and action.
Below are two photos I will someday use to tell a story. Can you imagine what is not shown? What is the story in each?