Journal Camp: day 12

My Oldest Living Relative

My oldest living relative would by my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was one of four children, and she had nine babies with my uncle. As a reward for a life well lived, she is our matriarch. It is so strange to move inevitably closer to that category: the elder generation. The wise ones. The ones with institutional memory. Where do the stories go when the elders are gone? Does the narrative lose its bite? Do the family mythologies soften around the edges like a cherished photograph carried for years in a wallet? Perhaps family stories are like an image that over time fades until only the ghost of an persona remains.

Journal Camp: Day 7

My Mother’s Scent

She wore Chanel No. 5. On nights my parents went out, she drifted out the door on a cloud of deep musky-floral pheromones, an  accommodation of the sophistication she yearned for. Periodically, when we were old enough for them to leave the brood with a reliable steel-belted sitter for the weekend, they journeyed north to the Banff Springs Resort in British Columbia. There are photographs of them from one trip, souvenirs from a night club they had attended. My mother appears to be in her thirties, young, pretty, wearing a classic kind of Jackie O sheath dress. The photographer caught her smile and a sparkle in her eyes. She seemed happy then, and glamorous. I imagine that in that dress, in that club, she was enveloped in a cloud of Chanel No. 5. She later switched to a fragrance called Interlude – with the same base notes, a similar mysterious, musky presence. Other scents of my mother that I recall: Breck hair spray, spray starch, despair.

Journal Camp, Day 6

Relics in the Attic

There was an apartment in my grandmother’s house where an attic would have been. Up the staircase, there was a kitchenette, living room, bathroom with a clawfoot tub,  closet, bedroom, and screened porch. It was only used as often as we visited, arriving in a station wagon loaded with kids, luggage, and the detritus of a small tribe. The apartment smelled of dust and mothballs. It seemed enchanted somehow, a miniature house.  We had never seen an apartment and it held a special charm to me. The living room was by far the largest space, with an overstuffed sofa, braid rug, ancient radio cabinet that might have broadcast reports from a faraway war, a window that overlooked the backyard garden and Italian plum tree. When we descended after five hours on the road, children scattered like marbles on a linoleum floor. We touched every room at once: kitchen, pantry, back yard, cellar, upstairs apartment. We slept everywhere too, sofas made into bed with sheets and chenille spreads, screened porch and sleeping bags. Family legend maintains that my parents lived in the apartment their first year of marriage: playing house in an attic filled with relics of austerity.

Virtual Journaling Camp

Journal Camp (2)

Join me in July for a Virtual Journaling Camp! Journaling Campers will write for a minimum 15 minutes per day and in a month will have collected 31 pages of dazzling, original journaling prose.  Camper registration fee is $99. For this you get:

  1. 31 journaling prompts delivered to your inbox
  2. a signed copy of my book, Journaling As Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery
  3. four video coaching sessions with award-winning author and coach, Cynthia Gregory
  4. access to a private FaceBook Group where you can post journal entries and share community with other Happy Campers

 

To register, email me at coach.cynthia.gregory@gmail.com

See you at camp!

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six word story no. 188

Be more like your dog, yo.*

* brought to you with everlasting curiosity and a  steady heart by Journaling as Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery, available in print or e-book. April is National Poetry Month! Treat your inner poet to a new book.

 

six word story no. 187

 

Like love, the archers are blind*

*excerpted from the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and brought to you with a  steady heart by Journaling as Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery, available in print or e-book. April is National Poetry Month! Treat your inner poet to a new book.

six word story no. 185

Spoken each night by lovers unaware. *

*excerpted from California poet laureate Dana Gioia’s poem, “The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet”

Bought to you with reckless passion by Journaling as Sacred Practice. April is National Poetry Month! Order an e-book or hard copy today for the poet of your dreams.