Tuesday, February 3, 2015

{Keeping} :: My Commonplace ... and some reflections

I have just begun a fun-for-me read entitled: Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging

I was drawn to this for a couple of reasons:
1. I love learning about & experiencing other cultures and hearing other people's stories about living abroad.
2. We were missionaries for 6 years, and although I did not grow up abroad, I definitely began to have a sense of being in between worlds ... like I didn't have a place of real belonging, either in the States or in Latin America. It was a strange place to be, so I can totally imagine what a Third Culture Kid (TCK) may sense.
(Oh, and #3: it was free for Kindle the other day!) teehee :-)

So the author, Marilyn R. Gardner, was an MK (missionary kid) in Pakistan. Her parents began their work there in 1954.

Here is an excerpt of a portion of one of her essays of the many memories she holds dear while away at boarding school:

I've written before that there can be strength in remembering. 
And the Chai Shop is a memory that gives strength.
... ... ...
Rumor has it that the building that housed the chai shop has been torn down - one more brick taken out of our wall of memories. 
Perhaps writing helps keep some of the bricks intact, because memories are precious and, if used properly, give strength for the present.

I can't help but connect what she reveals here with the idea of Keeping. She is keeping her memories alive by writing them down and reflecting on how her past has had a profound impact on her present.

I am really enthralled with this idea of keeping notebooks, and in The Living Page Laurie Bestvater expresses well what Miss Mason proclaims about the "blank page":

[It] secures personhood by slowing us down, causing us to reflect, choose, sort, and ruminate.
-p 112

And isn't this similar to what Mrs. Gardner has done in her essays? She has apparently done much reflecting, choosing, sorting and ruminating in order to secure her personhood.


Would that we all look back ... Or even better yet, start now to make notes of important, vital happenings, thoughts, quotes, poems, hymns, natural discoveries, and everyday observations. And in this writing, perhaps it will also help us to keep some of the bricks intact.


  1. I love this quote, Kristyn...so beautifully said, and true. Writing it down does cement it in my memory. I am so thankful that I have gotten back to keeping. Thanks for sharing your keeping with us.

  2. Thanks, Lisa :-)
    I am glad you've gotten back to keeping as well! I am working my way into it...hope to add in more bit by bit, aside from the Commonplace.

  3. I checked out the book when I saw you mention it here, and it certainly looks like a very interesting book to read. It's now on my reading list! Thanks for sharing your commonplace book. I'm starting mine, slowly and surely! :-) It's such a good way to get deeper into our reading, isn't it? :-)

    1. Oh, good, Hwee :-) It really is so interesting. I hope you enjoy the read as I am. And, yes, the Commonplace is definitely the motivation I need to read things on my own. I am so out of practice!

  4. Wow, that mental allusion is very helpful when considering keeping, and one I'd never thought of ... thanks for sharing it!

    1. Thanks, Dawn, for stopping by again. I know that whenever I write things down (not type them!) I have a better chance of remembering and "keeping some of those bricks intact". :-)

  5. I love this analogy! And it reminds me too of the tangibility of Keeping: I'm literally writing bits of their writing, and both of our writing is giving physical form to intangible experiences, like a memory, once in writing, has the tangibilty of the brick of a building...this is why I'm convinced of the difference between Keeping and e-Keeping, at least for me. :) Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes, Celeste, I totally agree about the difference actually putting pen to paper makes versus typing thoughts down. There is really something more tangible, as you say, to this process!