“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams, Jr.
For the past six weeks, I’ve captured memories and experiences in a workshop with Roger Housden. He shared this insightful advice: “At the heart of all creative writing of non-fiction is the willingness to have an open mind about the event or events you are writing about, acknowledging that a great part of their significance is likely as yet to be still unknown to you. The writing itself, over time, is what can gradually make the unknown known. So the writing of memoir then becomes not merely a recounting of past events, but an exploration of your developing sense of self through time – a journey of self-discovery.”
This is not only a great lesson for writing non-fiction, it’s an invaluable tool helping us navigate and make sense of life’s twists and turns. Sometimes when we feel like we’re trekking through mud, we’re unaware of gifts which will eventually emerge. Looking back gives us a new perception. Understanding unfolds like a lotus flower revealing reasons for our challenges.
I learned painful events become a wise teacher. After losing my first mother, I gained a new mom who turned into my best friend and mentor. Going through a divorce at thirteen instilled independence, maturity, an early awareness of responsibility. When my father died at fifty-two, the devastating loss taught me life is precious and short.
I learned we may lose love then find it again.
Life is a roller coaster – riding high one moment then falling to some unknown depth. The key is growing stronger through adversity. What matters is taking time to sit and listen to our soul so our true path can be revealed.