This week begins a new The Whole Megillah feature based on a Creative Nonfiction webinar given last week by memoirist/essayist Sonja Livingston. She titled it “52 Snapshots.”
Livingston defines a snapshot as a written description of a scene or image (a sound, scent, taste, touch, or sight) that distills and conveys the basic essence of a particular memory or experience. It captures a moment. By working on these snapshots weekly–hence, 52–one might have a collection by year’s end. Livingston suggests making a plan for the year by:
- Giving your project a name (what)
- Identifying the days and times you’ll write (when)
- Identifying your “sacred space” (where)
- Identifying your anchoring touchstones (why)
- Noting any barriers
My responses to those five items:
- “Branches”–a collection of prose and found poetry about my family tree
- I’ll write twice weekly during Amherst Writers & Artists sessions
- My sacred space is my front room with lots of lot and a huge computer screen
- My touchstone is my paternal grandparents’ wedding portrait. When I placed it near my computer, having scooped it from the family room, I could immediately feel its power.
- My barriers are always time.
During the webinar I started to think about my great-grandmother, Bryna Dvorkin Krasner, after whom I’m named. I started thinking about the photos I collected of her in my early days of genealogy. A widower since 1915, she always wore black taffeta and either her sheitl or a kerchief. But photos also showed how much mutual adoration there was between her and her American grandchildren. So, my first #52snapshot will be about these photos.
I’ll let you know how it went writing about this and what I’ll work on for the second week next time.