Let’s get a few things straight before I launch into this short, but important blog post. I’ll start with the five basics.
First: I’m a writer, and I love writing, so I’m going to encourage writing.
Second: You have seen me often write on this platform about the importance of keeping a journal of your life to preserve your family’s history. Nothing has changed since then.
Third: As a teacher of writing, what better subject matter to offer potential writers to write about than the situation of what we are all going through?
Fourth: We find ourselves in incredibly unusual times, and it’s worth taking the time to record it.
Fifth: No one has a perfect memory.
For the five aforementioned reasons, I’m encouraging my kids—and others—to write about this crazy and historic time of living through a pandemic. As I just mentioned to my son, someday when you are 40 or 50 and someone asks what it was like to live through it, you will want to have documented notes on what it felt like, how it affected you and your family, and the feelings that you had living through it. For example, my son was robbed of his second semester sophomore year of college, and my daughter’s senior year of high school was a disaster, from losing out on a dance showcase, to prom, to a travel trip through the school, to graduation. We may remember the quick strokes, but how did it feel for you to live through it?
As I said, no one has a perfect memory. You will not remember all the little nuances of the circumstances we are living through. The truth is, most of us probably have a little more “down” time than we had before. Get a pretty journal or open up that laptop and write your thoughts. Sit in the sun, by the pool, or near a garden and let your thoughts flow. The task is not to be Shakespeare, but to be authentic you on paper writing down your authentic feelings. I don’t care if it’s in bullet points or long-hand prose; the point is to write it down so you remember.
It’s an emotional time—emotions are heightened—and a good place to start is at the beginning. Where were you when you learned we had to hunker down and quarantine? Do you know anyone who has been ill? What has it been like to be in your home during this time? Did you learn anything new about yourself or others during this time? What are you missing most?
Look at this activity as an opportunity to document your own history.
Someday, your kids might thank you for it when they are asked, “What was it like?”, and they can dust off that journal and have the ability to recall exactly what it was like, word for word.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Communication at Stevenson University. She is the author of 5 works of fiction and the co-author of one academic textbook on Event Planning. Her character-driven books are set in beautiful Maryland locations and examine the realities of the human heart. Connect with her on Instagram at stephanie.verni or on Twitter at @stephverni. Or, visit her Amazon page at Stephanie Verni, Author.