I wanted to pop in your inbox for a quick hello (yes, I’m waving!) and to share my favorite journaling prompt. You can use it to re-live your favorite memories, as a daily ritual, or to spark creativity.
I can’t quite remember where I originally saw this – maybe in one of Anne Lamott’s books or Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Regardless, credit for this prompt is due to the amazing writers who inspire me to put my butt back in the chair after roaming aimlessly around the house, looking for dishes to wash, houseplants to prune, lint to be picked – fluff by fluff – from black yoga pants, or anything else that seems remotely more interesting than a very blank page.
Here’s the prompt:
It’s as easy as starting each sentence with “I remember.” Finish the sentence, the thought or paragraph, skip a line, and begin again.
It goes something like this...
(Note: In case you’re wondering why I’m sharing these memories, specifically, they were the very first ones that popped into my mind when I sat down! I rolled with ‘em. There is no brainstorming required here. If you get stuck, always start with those _________ school lunches! [Fill in the blank: stale/savory/icky/healthy/pre-packed…])
“I remember… the sandwiches my mom used to make for my lunchbox. I went through the classic PB&J phase. This sando was usually best when toasted at 7am, crushed in a backpack from 8am-12pm, and then enjoyed at room temperature – squished down into about half the width it was hours before – with jelly oozing out of the sides and peanut butter gluing soggy wheat slices together. (I also went through a mayo-peanut butter-sprout phase. It was my mom’s favorite sandwich growing up. Her family was from Ohio. So I’ll just leave it at that).”
“I remember… summer mornings spent in Junior Lifeguards, on Capitola Beach, and then walking to the candy store that stood a hundred paces from the sand. My brother was into the jawbreakers – those solid, white, chalky balls with little flecks of color. Me, not so much. (Come on, they don’t even sound appealing.) I’d get the green froggy gummies with the white bellies. I’d take my teeth to their soft tummies first, rip off the white part, and then devour the rest. I don’t think I’ve had a froggy since.”
“I remember… lying down in the back of my dad’s pickup truck with my brother, Christopher, and sister, Nicole. My dad would let us ride in the bed to and from my grandpa’s house, which was about 15 minutes away. A yellow blanket was tossed over us to deter meddling police officers and the three of us rolled around above the hum of the tires, like hot dogs sizzling on a grill.”
“I remember… falling off of my bike on Soquel Drive when I was seven. My sister, then thirteen, got a kick out of it. Especially when a firefighter pulled over to see if I was okay. About ten minutes later she was still laughing at me, while simultaneously zigzagging to-and-fro across the road. She ran into a mailbox and took a chunk out of her lip. Ahhh, nothing was sweeter than the satisfaction of revenge against a sibling.”
On that note… “I remember… riding plastic laundry baskets down carpet-covered stairs. Nicole was always in front, you know, being older and all. One time we gained some pretty wild momentum and her nose smacked straight into the wooden banister on the staircase landing. She cried. My mom came running. I didn’t laugh. (It wasn’t really funny when your older sister cried… unless she had teased you immediately prior.)
“I remember… trips to get frozen yogurt. It was always to celebrate something momentous. Like a good report card, a school play or a big win. I’d go pretty generic with the yogurt – chocolate and vanilla swirl. But the toppings… that’s where my heart was. Rainbow sprinkles all the way. I still call them “happy sprinkles”. Why? They’re just… so damn happy.”
Take 10 minutes and journal.
And then, tell me… What do you remember?
I’d love to hear.
P.S. Do you have a friend that would enjoy this prompt? Feel free to forward and spread the love! (And if this was sent to you by an amazing person – and you don't want to miss out on the next bit – click here. Oh and welcome new friend!)