By the Wind Grieved

By the Wind Grieved
“O lost, And by the wind grieved, Ghost, Come back again.” Thomas Wolfe

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Bite-Size Memoir

I am going to take a break today from my usual preoccupations with "The Book" and introduce you to a delightful writer and blogger that I crossed paths with on a Linked In group I participate in. (And yes, this post has to do with fairies and magic, as you will see.)

Lisa Reiter blogs at Lisa Reiter--Sharing the Story, and true to the name of her blog, she does just that in her introduction. Lisa's story is a powerful testament to courage, hope, and good humor in the face of dark chance and capricious fate, and if  you need a good dose of optimism yourself, I highly recommend you read her account of surviving cancer.

Lisa recently inaugurated a writing challenge on her blog that even the most harried and time-challenged writers should be able to manage. Called the "Bite Size Memoir" challenge, she invites readers to write on a weekly prompt using one (or both) of two formats: a simple list of ten statements, or a paragraph limited to 150 words. In this way anyone can record some personal memoir in small manageable bites. You can find further instructions and guidelines on her blog.

This weeks Prompt # 3 is "Magic and Fairy Tales." I must say I was rather chagrined to find that I had few associations with this rich topic, (were there no fairies in Arizona?) and I felt rather sad that I did not remember being the kind of child that believed in the magical, but I did come up with a list to share here. I invite you to share your own list with me in the comments box, or sign up on Lisa's blog. You can also find her on Twitter by searching her name or #BiteSizeMemoir.

I may yet write a paragraph about this, but here is my list: (and, I hope you share yours!)

Jeanne's Ten “I Remember” Statements about Magic and Fairy Tales

1.     I remember reading over and over again a red, leather bound, beautifully illustrated book of classic fairy tales that my sister Peggy borrowed from our Catholic school library and never returned.
2.     I remember finding Margaret Hamilton’s wicked witch in the 1930s version of The Wizard of Oz so real and terrifying that I had to hide under my bed when she and her flying monkeys threatened Dorothy in the castle.
3.     I remember believing in miracles, which I took to be a kind of magic.
4.     I remember being startled awake as a teenager, while lying on the lower of the bunk beds in my room, by the sound of a full orchestra just above my head blaring out the most sublime music I had ever heard, and not finding anything at all on the upper bunk bed.
5.     I remember being surrounded by a bevy of psychics at a party a few years back, and being astounded that these people believed in fairies as fervently (to paraphrase my old professor of Shakespeare) as I believed in Alaska.
6.      I remember telling my children fantastical stories of seeing my dead mother appear to me as a feather drifting down from above, even though I was by then a fervent rationalist.
7.     I remember driving through the Rocky Mountains as a child, and believing my mother’s stories of the ghosts of the Indians waiting up on the ridges (presumably to get back at us for the crimes of our white farmer ancestors).
8.     I remember, in the early 1990s, watching the rocking chair in my Edwardian flat in London rock without any human provocation.
9.     I remember believing in saints and angels, but never in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
10. I remember thinking that the dead were near when a wind chime sounded or a hummingbird hovered nearby.


  1. Well, I didn't think I could come up with 10 magical moments so far removed from they are...FUN ONE, Jeanne!

    1. I remember scaring a ghost more than it scared me -- a old, very short nun, attempting to waken my roommate (who hadn't slept well for months).

    2. I remember how my cousin would make room in his bed for his Guardian Angel.

    3. I remember meeting my mother's parents who died decades before I was born.

    4. I remember feeling suspended in air over a puddle broader across than I should've been able to clear by myself, and four other 11 year-olds not clearing it.

    5. I remember encountering four boys wanting my key to a private beach gate warily looking at "someone" above my head and respectfully backing away.

    6. I remember barely missing a tree in a fog-socked suburb of Los Angeles the third time the steering wheel was yanked left away from my grip.

    7. I remember Julia Roberts as "Tink" in "Hook".

    8. I remember Uncle Johnny passing quarters through our dining room table.

    9. I remember hearing my mother moving through the house for as long as we lived there after her death.

    10. I remember finding things in the very places I'd already looked for them over and over.

    Hugs, Twink2

    1. Ah Twink! This is how you found me. Thank you so much for playing. Look out for the next prompt tomorrow at 2pm BST, Lisa xx

  2. Thanks Twink2. Wow, I think I have heard of some of these, but you must fill me in on some of others. I have had the experience of # 10 but have chalked it up to a quantum episode, my object popping into a parallel universe for a spell and then popping back into mine :-)

  3. Jeanne, Thank you for this generous and supportive post and your fantastic memories. Your site is amazing and I cannot wait to have time to have a good look round! Glad we found each other via LinkedIn - I find it a funny platform that one for actually 'seeing' people as people whereas blogs and Twitter are like having someone over for coffee! I know you're asleep as I write this, but I'm having a virtual coffee with you!

  4. What a wonderful list that conveys the complexities of life and the mind; of belief and the suspension of such. You write with concrete details that brings depth to your list!

  5. Thanks for reading Charli and for the great comment. I have long struggled with the question of belief and faith; seems no matter how rational I try to be I cannot help but fall back on an inclination to tap into that huge, nameless Something out there. I have to thank Lisa Reiter for the Bite Size Memoir challenge!