My husband isn't a fan of blogging. He doesn't really see the draw to it, and if he sees me reading someone's blog he'll say something like "are you checking to see what they had for dinner last night?"
It's a sure way to annoy me.
On the other hand, though, he's partly right: some blogs do read like a sort of appointment book, a list of what-I-did-today. And while I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I tend to not read them. Instead, I like the blogs that make me think, or laugh, or be surprised, or maybe even get a lump in my throat. In other words, I like writing that makes me feel something.
I like writing with a "so what."
I think scrapbooking journaling especially requires a "so what." It's that thing that makes the writing memorable, that takes it from just a pretty description to a string of words that provokes emotion or thought in the reader. It's also the thing that people struggle with. It's not always obviously apparent when you start writing, what your "so what" will be. And that's OK. Remember, the origin of the word "essay" (and I think that scrapbook journaling is, in effect, a mini personal essay) doesn't have anything to do with proving the symbolic import of Hester's letter A or the metaphoric impact in Eliot's poetry. It comes from the French word for "to try." Writing an essay—even of the mini persuasion that you'll put on your layout—is really about trying. Trying to find a point, to convey something important, or to figure out what it is you think. You don't always start with the knowledge. Sometimes you find it through the process of writing.
So! For today's prompt, I want you to try. Start with the topic—I kept it vague and short on purpose—and see what you discover about what you think of it. You might have to write for a few minutes, filtering through the obvious choices to something more important. Move toward a specific experience—the event you're describing—and push deeper. So what?
Today's Writing Prompt:
The thing I forgot to do...
Lately I forget a lot of things. My cell phone is the most-often-forgotten item in my little world. I write a shopping list and then leave it in the car; I leave the house without coupons or the mail I needed to drop off at the post office. Last week I forgot to wash the basketful of undies. I'm not really sure how I forgot them. The basket was right there at the doorway of the laundry room. Being a working mom for awhile has taught me the importance of this truth: you should always have at least two weeks' worth of underwear and socks for every person in your family. That way if you skip a week of laundry, everyone still has enough clean things to get them through.
But I forgot to do the undies basket. And apparently Kendell doesn't have two weeks' worth, because Saturday arrived—the Saturday I had to leave for work—and he was out. No clean undies. The unthinkable happened: he had to be responsible for a load of laundry. And while I could start down the path of "why doesn't he help more often?" I don't want to go there. I mostly don't care that I do most of the laundry. I mostly don't care that my family seems to believe clean laundry appears magically in drawers and closets. Do I do the things I do so that they can tell me thank you? Not really. I do them so that they feel taken care of.
And so they can leave the house in clean clothes.
Of course, one of my personal strengths is self flagellation. I felt a little bit like beating myself up for forgetting to wash that load of clothes. But I didn't. Because I had this little inkling of an idea. Maybe clean laundry notappearing magically might be good for them once in awhile. Not because I want them to walk around feeling inordinate amounts of guilt for the sweat-and-tears effort of laundry. Not because I need to be thanked for hanging up the shrinkables so they don't shrink, or for washing the blacks carefully to minimize fading, or for pairing up all the socks. But so they can not take it for granted. Clean laundry is sort of a synecdoche: a clean pair of jeans is a bit of the person who washed them for you. If they take clean laundry for granted, they take me for granted, and then maybe they forget that, in the end, their clothes are clean because I love them.
And I don't want them to forget that.