Sitting in a high-backed, black office chair — one of ten in a set — elbows propped on a table made of the lightest pine, knotted in just the right places. This is an official looking workspace. My bare toes graze plush carpet, my laptop is well lit, but my pages are empty.
They talk around me. Their voices wind and thread and blend like their materials. Photos and stamps and stickers and papers and scraps piled and strewn and so very well used.
I’m away with my girlfriends at a scrapbooking weekend. Their mounds of completed pages — 12 x 12 versions of memories made forever prettied and captured and documented — rise. A visual reminder of time well spent.
My blank documents are their very own visual of the words I can’t seem to be able to put to paper.
This group of women have been coming here for ten years, scrapping – and eating and drinking and crying and ohmygoodness laughing — their way through vacations and birthdays, first days of kindergarten and high school graduations, babies’ births and parents’ deaths.
The first time I came I felt the need to confess, I’m not scrapbooking. I used to. But now, I’ll be writing, I said, wincing and wondering and hoping that different was just fine.
And what I saw was, indeed, differences. Their creative on display, cut and cropped and matted and labeled until their story was told, while my space remained bare.
But today, as I (finally) start filling my own pages — fingers splayed, words tapped, moments documented – I see what was there all along.
Women archiving their families’ memories — bound in the way that we all know best – by stories told.