How to Begin Sifting and Sorting Your Story Junk

Memory is a funny thing.  
As storyteller Donald Davis explains it, we have our everyday front mind which is very organised, structured and readily accessible.  In my totally unfounded estimate this is about 10% of the mind.

And then there is the rest, the attic of the mind where everything is thrown in and it is a completely unordered chaos of years and years of life.  

And usually the door to the attic is firmly closed.  

But in order to find our stories we need to open the door and start sifting and sorting, picking up little pieces that lead to other memories that lead to more.  Even, and especially, the memories we associate with shame, pain or fear.

When we begin this work it is really helpful to note down any scraps of memory because if we don’t capture them, they move out again,  to be buried in the mountain of back-mind, just as quickly as they came forward.

So here’s a wee exercise for you to try: 

Decide where you will keep your Story List - the list of memories that may one day be crafted by you into a fully crafted story.  

I use Evernote. - I have a note that is a long running list called ‘Story ideas’.

Set the time for four minutes, give or take. 
Now jot down any significant moments from your life, start with the turning points, the stories you tell again and again, the epicevents that define your life. Write as much information as seems important to you, in order to remember the event.  

It is important not to filter the list as you write; not to think ‘that’s not a story’ or ‘thats not important’ or ‘I couldn’t tell that story.’ 

Capture anything and everything that comes to mind.  Whether you ever have the call, impetus, desire or opportunity to inspire you to makethe effort of crafting, practising and telling this moment as a story, for now just grab what comes up.

Sit with it for the time, even if you can’t think of anything.  Be patient.

Here are the few from my list:

  •              Cup when the horse broke its leg
  •              Going down the Mekong river after filling up with water
  •              Client having a epileptic seizure in the dock
  •              Being kicked by the kangaroo


bviously this list means nothing to you, but each note reminds me of a whole set of possibly story worthy circumstances.

That’s all you have to do for now.  If you feel like sharing a few on the Facebook Community Group, it would great to see what you've got on your list.  You can join here. 

nd watch out for more memory prompts in coming blog posts.