Shelves Full of Stories, by Kori (See Kori Rant)

Kori‘s blog is See Kori Rant…and that title is pretty self-explanatory, actually, but in a good way. This single mother of four is not afraid to put the personal in her personal blog, and to share the ups and downs of life. But when she’s not experiencing or writing about those ups and downs, she loves to escape into a good book.

Please welcome today’s guest blogger to The 3 R’s, as she tells a story about telling stories.

 Some people make scrapbooks chronicling their children’s lives or their own lives, pasting in pictures and newspaper clippings, saving locks of hair or baby teeth. Others have pile upon pile of picture albums, filled with all sorts of family gatherings and cutesy poses. While I have no issue with scrap-booking itself, I would personally rather have my nose hairs plucked out by a left-handed gorilla.  Not only am I not crafty at all, I am also not a saver.  I have not saved drawings the kids did when they were three, because to me they simply look like scribbles.  I don’t save certificates of achievement or good report cards or misshapen ashtrays fashioned by small hands, no matter how cute they might be.  Call it cold-heartedness or simply lack of sentimentality, but I just don’t see the point.  And maybe my children will grow up someday and feel angry and resentful, or unloved because I don’t have a box for each of them packed lovingly with their childhood items, I don’t know; I kind of figure that they will end up in therapy over something, right?
What I do have, though, are words.  I have shelves full of books in every room in my house save the kitchen, and every book that has spoken to me in my life has a place of honor on the shelf.  I have this to leave my children, my own story written in hundreds of different ways by hundreds of different authors, their own stories told in the pages of others, all of our histories intertwined together by the words of other people.  Anyone who wants to know me, to see my journey through life as child through my years of high school angst to being a young mother need only look at my shelves.  I have books that got me through childbirth and divorce and remarriage, through getting sober and working out family of origin issues, to having another child and going through loving and letting go of an alcoholic.  All this and everything in between, laid out for anyone to see on my shelves.  Robert Morgan wrote Gap Creek and reaffirmed to me that hard work can heal.  John Irving gave me the hope that no matter how messed up my family might be, there are still redeeming factors, and he made me fall in love with a young man called Owen Meany; it is no coincidence that my youngest child carries the name. Anne Lamott taught me that I can be crazy and weepy and neurotic but Jesus loves me anyway, and also showed me that it is possible to love your children so much it hurts while also contemplating killing and eating them.  Kate Braestrup wrote Here If You Need Me and put into words exactly how I feel about my faith and what I am supposed to be doing here.  I could go on for hours.
In addition to my books, those wonderful things that tell me I am not alone in the crazy world, I have my journals.  A full shelf detailing my life in a variety of shapes and sizes, written in times of great joy and great sadness.  In these, my children will get to know me, who I was and what I thought about and who I wanted to become.  These too are the pictures and scrapbooks of their own lives, the places I have written their birth stories and my love for their fathers, the ending my my marriages and all of the times in between.  They might not be able to flip through a photo album and see how we looked the summer we went on vacation to Seattle, but they will be able to hold in their hands the pages in which I wrote how it felt to travel across three states with these lovely creatures of mine, or be able to form their own mental images of the way the ocean looks at sunset, or even close their eyes and feel the sun on their face by the fountain.  I have written on my frustrations and my joys about being a parent, I have put down on paper how scary and wonderful and exhilarating it all is, and I think they will know how much I love them.  Not by the things of theirs I have saved, but by the words I have written.  And I haven’t written only about my children, but about my own life, my own story, and that is the legacy I leave them-they will know who I was, what I thought about, how I felt at any given time.   
I don’t know what comes after this in my life; I don’t know who I will be tomorrow, what I will be thinking about, what choices I will need to make.  I don’t know and won’t predict what will happen to my children, or what kind of people they will turn into.  What I do know is that along the way, there will be more books that help me through, to inform me or comfort me of humble me.  I know, too, that whatever happens, I will write; to make a note of my own days and weeks, so that someday my words will help tell someone else’s story.

*A note from me: I am an Amazon Associate. Book links in this post are provided by and will generate a small referral fee for me if used for purchases.

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