Shadow Memories

Shuffling the source material for my new book Mona’s Work, I’m having difficulty deciding what story to write next. It is not the material that is difficult. The bits of paper, the scribbler and the recipe book are all straight forward. It is the shadow memories.

The memories I want for the book are also connected to ones I would rather not revisit. Is this why I have been working on Mona’s Work since 2007 with only a slim volume of stories to show for my efforts?  I have seen enough therapists, made my way through enough healing circles and drawn enough pictures about these experiences to feel the work I need to do is done. I wish not to haunt my readers with these stories as it seems unnecessary. The memories are not related to the same people, or the same places just the same time in my life.

I’m determined that these shadow stories not become part of the final cut but will I need to write them anyway – so that I can mine deeper into the my memory for the stories I do want to retrieve? Or can I just note them and place the memory on a “parking lot list” such as I use when facilitating so that groups do not derail? Items placed on a parking lot list are revisited at the end of a process to see if there is anything that must be done with them. They are seen as valuable in the first instance – just not part of the immediate work. They are placed in the parking lot so as not to be lost (as if that is ever going to happen).  Can I do this with the shadow memories? Or should I write through the memories, allowing the darkness in behind the bright colours of Mona’s Work?

I wonder if, as in the image below of “city morning in spring,” I can find the balance and beauty of my shadow memories – as is evident in the buildings showing their shadowy bulk behind the trees illuminated in the morning sun.

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Sprout Question: How do your shadows impact or influence your creative process?

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