Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My most important stories

What are the things you most want to scrapbook? What are your most important stories? After a conversation with Tracie (fellow ScrapGal, bestie, scrapbooker extraordinaire etc.) on Monday, I realized that I haven't done a very good job of scrapbooking my most important stories. I'd thought about it before, but our conversation has sparked my desire to remedy that problem. She and I both really like Stacy Julian's approach to scrapbooking the stories that really matter and have discussed her approach/philosophy at length. Her Library of Memories approach is revolutionary. I haven't followed it personally because I began filing my layouts chronologically when I started scrapbooking, but the urge I feel to tell my most important stories may lead me to my own version of LOM someday. If you don't follow Stacy's blog, I highly recommend it. If you can grab a copy of either of her books, they're definitely worth the read too!

Stacy Julian's blog

Some of you may know that I began scrapbooking shortly after my mother's sudden death in 2001. She was only 49, and I was just 30. Losing her changed who I was; it changed how I saw the world and my place in it. It was a defining event in my existence, in many ways as much as becoming a mother myself was a defining moment. Scrapbooking, for me, became a way to make sure that my daughter would know who I was outside of my role as her mother. That's something I realized I didn't know about my own mom, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen. Scrapbooking became a way I could be sure that I was remembered, that our lives were documented, that I could say "I was here."  I used scrapbooking as a way to begin healing from the grief I felt at losing my mom, and it would sustain me through other difficult periods in my life too. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't scrapbooked what really matters most to me because that's why I started this hobby. Ironic, eh?

I've been scrapbooking now for 12 years, and there are still lots of stories that I need to tell. Stories that matter. Stories that define me. Stories that define our family. Stories that I don't want to be lost or forgotten. Sometimes I think I haven't scratched the surface of my most important stories.

Why haven't I spent the last 12 years scrapbooking what really matters?  At first, I think I got caught up in event style scrapbooking - holidays and vacations and birthdays and school functions, etc.  My daughter was young, and I wanted to make sure I captured her childhood as it was happening. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but I realize now that I haven't told all the stories that really matter to me. Later, I think I let simply stumbling blocks stand in the way. There is pressure to tell an important story. Pressure to get the right pics. Pressure to tell it in the right way. Pressure to design it well. Pressure to be honest, even when that honesty is painful or sad.

Most practically, I struggle with not necessarily having the right pictures to tell the story. Today, I'm letting that go. I'm beginning a list of my most important stories and will continue to add to it as I think of more I want to tell. If I don't have the picture, I'm going to take a picture, find something representative on the internet, or design a layout without a picture on it. The stories must be told. I cannot risk leaving them untold any longer. I want to start on this project and set aside the fear and pressure.

Here are some of my untold stories:

Letter to my high school self                     Calendar girl
The Grandmothers                                   Married at 18
Scrabble tournaments                              Dear Baby and Baby Hatcher
Spud the stud                                          Indian woman in her teepee
Always in a rush                                      Oral exams for M.A.
Where the action is                                  Hardest decision of my life
Always the grownup                                My dad the practical joker
Def not Sporty Spice                               Letting them down, saying goodbye

Some of these are lighthearted; some are nostalgic; some are painful -- and in this format, they probably don't make sense to anyone but me. That's okay; this list is mainly for me. :0 They all matter enough that I need to scrapbook them to tell my story. I literally spent five minutes and came up with that list. How many more will I realize I need to tell once I've given it some real thought?

I'm challenging myself to make a layout this month about a story that really matters to me. Are you up for the challenge? Care to join me?

What are your most important stories? Have you told them? If not, what's holding you back?  


  1. This is a stellar blog post. I'm so glad I've inspired you to tell your stories and I hope you'll nag me until I do the same! I give you permission!

  2. I'm pretty good at the nagging thing! Hahaha