Character Building, Memoir

Character building: I just got a BRILLIANT idea (I think)

mother memory book
This is one of two memory books I am filling out for my sons. Each books asks tons of questions about the mother’s life.

I’ve always been obsessed with these memory books that are designed for parents and grandparents to fill out and leave for their progeny to remember them by. When I was a teen, I bought grandmother versions for each of my grandmas. Both of my grandmas totally filled their books out and left me all sorts of memories of them that I will treasure forever. I am lucky enough to still have my maternal grandmother, but my paternal grandmother has been gone for seven years now. I feel so close to her when I can open her book and read her handwriting.

I bought the parent versions for each of my parents a long time ago, but I don’t know if they’ve ever started to answer the questions inside. Maybe they’re still too young to worry much about whether or not they’ll be remembered when they’re gone.

I also bought mom versions for me to fill out for each of my sons. The books are a long way from complete, but I like to pick them up once in a while and answer a question or two. I figure I’ll have them all filled in by the time I die 70 or 80 years from now (I intend to be a crusty old hag, so I’m going to be around for a long, long time!)

Since I’ve decided to start writing a memoir, I thought writing in these memory books would be a good way to jog my memory and dredge up stories. My plan is to pull these books out whenever I’m feeling stuck and answer questions until I get an idea.

While considering this new plan, I got another idea. And I think this idea is awesome! Here it is:

WHAT IF I buy one of these memory books for my protagonist to fill out?

I could imagine that I am my protagonist many years in the future, after the story that takes place in my novel. How would she answer the questions that are asked in the memory book? How will she remember the events that took place in the story, and how will she choose to filter those stories down to her children and grandchildren? It’s an interesting concept, and one I can’t wait to explore.

How to you think the protagonist in your current work in progress will remember the events of his or her current story life 20 or 30 years in the future? Please share in the comments below.

~Mandy Webster

2 thoughts on “Character building: I just got a BRILLIANT idea (I think)”

    1. I hope so. They’re only 7 and 14, and my teenager has recently decided he would just as soon I didn’t exist at all anymore, lol. Maybe someday he’ll love me again. *tear*

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