Memories of last week’s strange Hallowe’en have already begun to fade in significance, like so many other things this year. Of the hundreds of songs that were released this year, most will not endure the test of time. This year’s TV hits, Oscar winners and excellent books will probably soon gather dust on shelves or be filed in digital archives. All of these are mostly doomed to rest, waiting, possibly long into the future, to provide useful insight and inspiration to listeners, viewers and readers exploring the political and health strangenesses of 2020.
Writers are History Keepers
Yet when memories of 2020 get jogged, some people–writers and authors, to be exact–will reshape them to connect new generations with this moment in time. They’ll capture feelings and ideas that remind us of past emotion and events, conveying them in print and images to be accessed and mixed with our current thoughts for clarity of perspective and stability as our lives swirl around us.
Of course, writers and authors aren’t born. They typically just start early, maybe by sending crayoned love letters to relatives, or recording ideas or events in a little tablet, or saved as drawings in what becomes a tatty notebook. They create “handles” to hold onto thoughts, still significant over the years, to help them and us relive episodes from our lives and to assist us in sharing observations and lessons, returning them to focus.
Years hence, recalling when protective masks were briefly put aside for Hallowe’en costumes then hurriedly replaced to fend off the invisible, microscopic enemies that are out to disease us most and kill many, we may envision what once was, what might have been if…. Envisioning the nearly full basket of inviting but un-opened Hallowe’en candy early November first morning, reminded me of the years that our neighborhood was once full of giggling goblins demanding treats, squealing about imaginative monsters. THAT was normal, way back THEN.
I encourage parents and teachers to guide today’s kids (and themselves) to write about their lives from today’s perspective, so that when what happened on special days like Hallowe’en 2020 returns into focus in the future, there will be fascinating tales to tell others, stories from which they and others can gain perspective, insight about what it meant to be kids at the end of October 2020, and how fragile normal life in any moment always is.
Who knows what life will bring next? Each child can learn to embrace their personal experiences, and to use them to become lifelong contributors to others’ perspectives. Through drawing, photographing, video taping, or narrating their life’s stories, children can learn to focus, reflect upon and appreciate their lives way off in whatever future present those relics are unearthed. Such simple treasures, rediscovered will await them, their own families, and theirs…and theirs.
Trick or treat!?
Over time, today’s children can grow to decide which delightful tricks to share and which tasty treats to leave in the evolving basket of possibilities that life offers.