Where Have All the Scrappers Gone? Part 3

NOTE: This is part of a blog series exploring the past, present and future of memory keeping from the perspective of my ten-year involvement. You can read part 1 starting here

When we last saw our heroes... 

  • We were living in Minnesota
  • Rowen was just over a year old
  • Elliott was due in early summer
  • I had quit my job in a cube to become a full-time mama

By the middle of 2005 I had started to dabble in digital scrapbooking. To be honest, I resisted at first, since I spent so much time at work in Photoshop and Illustrator and I dearly loved the feel of putting glue to paper and the "engineering" aspect of piecing together a layout from various printed parts. And of course, the Bazzill textured cardstock. Noms.

But I was invited to be part of a digital creative team and began collecting digital supplies as well as paper ones. And we ALL know what a slippery slope a new source of supplies is. I was doomed. But I still created almost all of my pages in "hybrid" - designing the layout, editing the photos, and printing out bits and pieces using the computer, and only gluing together at the end.

Elliott was born in June of 2005, and suddenly I had yet another seemingly endless resource for photos and stories to tell (and he couldn't run from me like Rowen could!). And again as I made the transition from the mama of one kid (16 months old) to the mama of two kids, scrapbooking was therapy in the evenings. I could sit back and look at my photos and remember the moments without the accompanying distractions of 'real life' - this is the part that I really began to appreciate. The chance to savor as well as save.

I decided at that point to enter two scrapbooking contests:

  • The Memory Makers Masters contest, which was essentially the Memory Makers magazine's Creative Team. We'd have monthly assignments and our own idea book. 
  • The Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame, which was more of a traditional competition, with the winners being selected and featured in an article, and then asked to do a project or two through the next year.

I decided for the Creating Keepsakes contest to do half of my ten-page entry as digital pages, and half as paper. I figured that entering a combination of page types would help my chances. Apparently, it did.

This page is my first "official" digital layout, and one of the pages I submitted to Creating Keepsakes for the 2006 contest:

You Are the Mark. June 2005

The text reads:

I have never felt more surely than now my purpose and place in the world. Each of us arrives here with the opportunity to shape ourselves, to grow and learn, to overcome opposition, and hopefully to leave some evidence of a well-lived life. I once thought my contribution to the world - my mark - would be within the walls of a cubicle or a corner office. But I know now that you, my sweet son, you are my gift of purpose and place. You are my corner office. You are the mark I will make on the world.  -JS

I do think one of the attractions to scrapbooking in general was the opportunity to combine several things I really loved and was pretty good at: writing, photography, design, Photoshop, collecting cute supplies and cardstock (ahem). It fused these diverse abilities into one craft centered on storytelling, but not only storytelling - telling and remembering and savoring and recording my own stories. Mine. Saying by these actions and this time spent that these things - my life and what I think and do and feel - matter, because they do. And they do for all of us who spend our time in this way.

As the end of 2005 approached, I began to learn for myself that this level of focus on detail and simple beauty and celebration and personal storytelling changes us as people. It changes the filters through which we see the world and makes happier, more grateful, more humble. We are more sure and alive and present in our everyday moments, for we are not just inhabiting these day-to-day things but savoring the moments now, and capturing the memories for later. 

I stumbled on a quote by the memoirist Anais Nin, who was talking about herself as a writer of personal stories:

We write to taste life twice. Once in the moment and once in retrospection. 

I've never read a better description of what personal storytelling and memory keeping and scrapbooking really is. The chance to taste life again as we relive it creating our projects with heart and mind and hands. Awesome.

I won both the Memory Makers Masters contest and the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest for 2006, and that pretty much sealed it for me: I was in this in a big way. Heart and soul.

It would be several more months before I would begin to catch the vision that part of my role in this industry would include actually teaching these concepts to others, but I was getting there. Getting to my place.