#SOL20 Day 24 “Everything”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.


How do we know things by heart? They are the things instilled in us through repetition or ritual typically. They are often things we love, or define who we are. Musicians know pieces by heart, poets know poems by heart, dancers know choreography by heart, cooks know recipes by heart. Why my mind went to something I no longer recite, but prayed as a child and young adult was an interesting experience. What do you know by heart? What came to mind first? Why do you think that is?

8 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 24 “Everything”

  1. I know this prayer by heart and thought your slice was so full of a teenage mind that it was if you were living those times. That’s the beauty of memoir writing. It brings back memories that may have been locked away. BTW-I still use that prayer to help me meditate.

  2. Oh my gosh, you’ve gotten me to a post topic once again. Your closing sentence, “While I’m not able to recall any of my petitions being granted, I do believe my anxieties were lessened by this meditative practice,” reminded me of the C.S. Lewis quote: “I don’t pray because it changes God; I pray because it changes me.” Thanks for this. (My copy of Goldberg arrived yesterday. She should pay you!)

  3. I’m kinda fascinated by this question. I know so many pop and soul songs by heart. But given this prompt and 10 minutes, I wonder what I would decide to share. I appreciate your reflection on a practice that was automatic nearly for a time and realizing how it served you. I may have to invest in the Goldberg book now.

  4. Listen my children and you shall hear/of the midnight ride of Paul Revere/On the 18th of April in ’75/Hardly a man is now alive/who remembers that famous day and year…. 4th Grade, baby. I’ve still got it! LOL!

    1. I memorized that in 6th grade (sadly some lines are missing now) I also memorized and Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe. Again…gaps. I love Amy Vanderwater’s suggestion to post a poem to recite as we wash our hands so that we can memorize some by the end of this crisis.

  5. I loved this, Paula. My rosary beads hang on my bedpost and I often reach for them when I’m stressed or just can’t sleep. There’s still a comfort in these repetitive prayers.

  6. What a fabulous prompt and a great response. I love reading your handwritten pages, Paula, and am so glad you share that way. I might just try this prompt out in my notebook tomorrow morning–or, if insomnia visits, during the wee hours of the night.

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