One shot, two stories

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Keoni Cabral

Hello everyone,

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’ve decided to “shake things up.”

Does this mean I’m in the mood for love, or that we’re going to try something new?

I’d say a little of both.

I’m joining Monica, from Monica’s Tangled Web, on a project we’re calling, “One shot, two stories,” and the best thing is that you, dear readers, get to run the show!

The rules are simple.

Have a look at the photograph, provided to us courtesy of Keoni Cabral, a talented photographer and colleague of Monica’s, read the first line, and add a sentence.

The purpose to this exercise is to create a story; the story behind the photograph.

In the meantime, Monica’s blog will feature the same photograph, but a different first line.

Thus, we hope to end up with two very unique stories.

At the end of the week, I’ll post the story created at Monica’s blog and she’ll post the one created here, at One Sister’s Rant.

The person behind this fun concept is writer friend, Cathy Kozak, from While the Dervish Dances.

So lets recap:
1) Take a look at the photograph.
2) Read the first sentence (provided by me).
3) Read the previous sentences, so as to ensure logical flow.
4) Number your sentence and add it in the comments section.

That’s it!

You can participate as many times as you want but remember, only one sentence at a time.

Moreover, we have two stories taking place simultaneously.

Monica and I would love it if you participated in both.

Now, without further ado, let’s get this party started!

Here’s the first sentence:

1. Olivia looked at the sprawled cat on the bench; the same bench where Ethan had proposed ten years ago.

What counts as a memory?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by hushed_lavinia

Yesterday my son did something really nice. He not only read my blog post, but also provided feedback. God I love it when the men in my life do that! Anyway, he made an extremely good observation. He pointed out that if in order to stay in the present, we abstained from visiting the past, this might ultimately result in the fading away of our memories. Food for thought, eh?

However, I told him that personally, I thought flashbacks pertained to remembering difficult times in the past while memories had to do with reliving positive experiences. Although he walked away muttering, “Nonsense, Mom,” I could see a slight smile on his face. Perhaps because he’s all too familiar with the importance I place on memories.

So how is it that one day I’m encouraging you to “live in the present moment,” while the next I’m inviting you to revisit your memories, you may ask? Allow me to explain.

I was seven years old when I took up the pastime of rocking away on the porch with my grandmother. She always insisted the sole purpose of old rocking chairs was to “soothe the soul”. And soothe the soul we did. We would sit for hours rocking back and forth, sipping our ice water, content as can be.

During these times I would always ask my nana to tell me a story of her youth. She was always happy to oblige. Through her narrations I learned about the time she was thrown from a mule, how she spent her summers in France stomping grapes, and how she assisted her Father in the bakery they owned.

Every story provided me with details of my grandmother’s life and how her passion and zeal for life came to be. I also became aware of the importance of being a survivor and what being a lady was all about. Through it all, my granny would smile and laugh. She always wrapped up every story by saying, “Bella, delving into one’s memories is like reliving a time in one’s life, so make sure that when you do it, you remember the good times and not the bad.”

As an adult, I realize that while reliving a difficult experience can be cathartic, it can also be quite painful. I believe this is what granny was trying to tell me.

As I reminded my son of the difference between a flashback and a memory, my mind wandered. For a moment a series of fond memories seemed to pass before my eyes; my son as a baby, then as a toddler, his first day of school, and his high school graduation. Good times. All of them.

I too was smiling like an idiot as I followed him out of the room.

How about you? What fond memory makes you smile?