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WritinginCommunityToday we have a Guest Post from Lucy Adkins from Writing in Community about a family camping trip. Lucy Adkins and Becky Breed run the Writing in Community Blog to inspire writers and are also the authors of “Writing in Community – Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block and Transform your Life.”

Thanks for sharing your post with us today. – HC


A Story. A Story.

I am just back from a week of camping in West Virginia with my son, daughter-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren.  What a memorable time we had! We camped in the Canaan Valley, one of the highest wetland areas in the United States, and there we hiked, took a birdwatching expedition, listened to frogs, and just enjoyed being together in this beautiful world.

What was most memorable about the trip, however, was the story-telling we did.  Jessie, my eight year old granddaughter started it, asking me to tell a story about Great-Grandma (my mother who recently passed away.) “Tell a story about when she was a little girl,” Jessie asked. So I told about Great-Grandma stepping on a piece of glass while running around barefoot, and soaking her foot in a washtub to ease it out.  That led to other stepping-on-glass-while-going-barefoot incidents, my husband’s bicycle wreck stories, and other childhood mishaps.

Jakey wanted to hear about camping trips when I was a girl, so I told the camping-trip-that-didn’t-happen-because-of-the-flood story, and the story about pitching our tent on a slope and sliding downhill in our sleep. We all told stories, everyone but fourteen month old Joshey making a contribution. Well, I take that back. He didn’t tell a story, but he made up for it in his rapt attention at what was going on around him, and just being cute.

What is there about sitting around the campfire, or on the porch, or around the kitchen table listening to someone tell a story?  Perhaps it is the delight in the drama, the thrill of a tale; or the wonder in imagining what it would be like to live in another time and another place, putting yourself in the action.  And maybe it is the child in us that loves letting the words of another enthrall us, and all we have to do is listen. Whatever it is, storytelling is wonderful, both in the telling of them and listening to others. So maybe we need to tell more stories—they provide opportunites to tell family history, engage the imagination, and they are a delight.


Writing Exercise:

  1. Think about stories you might tell your children or grandchildren, your nieces and nephews–the young people in your life. Find a quiet corner and take 30 minutes to make a list. Include minor childhood bumps and cuts, stories about the “trouble” your dog or cat got into. List funny (or not so funny) things that happened on family vacations. Did you go to a summer camp as a child?  What happened there?  Tell about your first job or your first date, where you lived when you first married. Include anything and everything, make your list a good, long one.
  2. Keep this list in a safe place. It will be a great source when you can’t think of anything to write about. And if you’re interested in writing a memoir, this would be a great way to start. What is a memoir, anyway, but a series of stories?
  3. Now, choose something from your list and write about it.  Start simply and imagine you are telling this story to children around a campfire.  If you’d like a starter phrase, you might start:

–There was the summer we went to ………….

–Let me tell you about the time……………….

Set a timer and write for 20 minutes, writing as quickly as you can to tell the story. Then find a time—with or without a campfire–to share this with someone you care about.  Enjoy!