Inspiration originates for any writer in myriad ways, from objects to artwork, as well as prose and poetry that provide motivational examples. Writing also comes with a number of challenges, and one of the greatest, I think, is surpassing the dreaded “writer’s block.” These writers were not defined by this nor their own particular challenges—those of memory loss. Instead, they rose above them.
From personal histories to imagined vistas, these writers from the Memory Connections group at Baylor, Scott & White in Georgetown allowed me to guide them through a series of exercises in six classes that resulted in a small body of work, the best of which appears below. Their pieces leave room to pause, ponder, and appreciate before moving on to the next word or image. They’ll stay with you, so be prepared!
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
– inspired by William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”
Where have you
I miss your
the hogs that
I see a mother
with a little boy playing
in the blue and white pool.
There was a sound,
a yell of delight.
Later, they watched the sun
go down in darkness.
Blue and white clouds
Water splashing in the background
Clouds floating overhead
Umbrellas open and waving in the breeze
Salt in the air and sticky
Everything is beautiful!
My expertise is genealogy
At this time
I am going through my family
from as long ago as the 1600s
I am writing—storytelling—
of these people
How to make a story
of a person?
she was born?
siblings she had
and who died
and how she lived,
what she loved,
and who she loved
How she lived her life,
I have a little locket. It was worn by my grandmother and my mother. It has a dent in it, which was allegedly caused by my mother biting it. It was passed down to me by my mother. I never wore it much, as I was afraid I would lose it. It is now in my safe deposit box at our present bank location.
It’s just a simple little locket with very little monetary value. But it could never be replaced. It is a keepsake, a reminder of what and who was important to me in life… people and love.
It will be passed onto my daughter and then my only granddaughter. Perhaps it will be treasured by them… and passed onto many generations!
My name is Heather. Heather is the small flowers you see on the hills of Scotland. They are usually purple. Isn’t that pretty?
My older brothers called me H-Bomb. I guess I was rather hyperactive. This name was mine until I was all grown up.
I think that they could have called me anything else and it would have been much better. Don’t you think?
My brothers had names like Charles and Fraser. How about that?
Heather de Loyo
A sunny day calls for two or three
sets of tennis.
Without tennis balls, no sets
The balls should be new to have
A tennis court and racket are necessary to hit
the ball and play the game.
Without a dry day, a good racket, and three balls,
no game is possible.
A Time Long Ago
I treasure the moments
of an evening long since gone
of the memories it contains
laughter, merriment, sipping champagne,
dancing foxtrot, swing, waltz…
all the music of Glenn Miller,
Tommy Dorsey—Big Band sound—
embraced in the arms
of the young man I loved
these memories are sweet,
innocent, of a time long ago
that remains in my heart
for a lifetime.
As shells have evolved through time
immemorial, the complexity and
advancement of life can be seen
Evolution of life is such an amazing
advancement in evidence and support
of complexity and beauty
of progression of life.
To think that life on our planet
is an example and proof that evolution
of life is very probable in other
planets, other solar systems, other galaxies.
Evolution of life is evidence that
life has existed before
and will exist
in the very far future.
The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.