Have you ever walked out the door, sniffed the air, and felt an arrow fly into your heart?

Sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, San Francisco. Wikipedia image.

Sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, San Francisco. Wikipedia image.

I think there must be another kind of Cupid in addition to the one at Hallmark  — a Memoir Cupid who sends us pangs of joy or sorrow from our past.

Scientists who study memory know that the senses, especially the sense of smell, connect us to storage of people, places, things, and events we know we experienced before, but we don’t recall vividly — yet.

Two years ago I wondered what I could offer readers who are ready to think about or talk about or maybe even write about their own stories.

If you have read Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, you know that my mother wrote a story called “The Magic Elevator” in high school and that she has now told that story to three generations of her own family.

I wanted to offer my readers entré into the world of memory, which is just as magical as the world of imagination. Some would say the two worlds are the same. 🙂 But in the case of memory, the fairy dust floats over real objects, sense perceptions, and artifacts.

So, what if I sent you one of my artifacts by email every week and made a short observation and asked you a question. Could I share the Magic? Would Cupid’s arrow sting you also?

I decided to offer Magical Memoir Moments to readers in 2012, the year before my book was published. I wasn’t sure what images to send. So I tried landscapes. And old photos from my family collection, some of which ended up in my published memoir.

And, of course, I had to throw in a few photos of Cupid’s best weapon — my grandchildren.

Sample Magical Memoir Moment

Sample Magical Memoir Moment

Uh oh. I found a typo in the text above. Can’t correct it right now. Just like all Magic, this one includes a touch of imperfection.

Yesterday, I sent Magical Memoir Moment #100 out the door. This weekend, I have to fill up Cupid’s Quiver with new arrows to send to the 620 people who subscribe. You may remember that making an eBook out of the weekly offerings now accumulated was one of my goals for 2014, along with travel. I’d also love to grow the membership in Magical Memoir Moments, so please share this post online if you enjoy receiving Cupid’s arrows, and please subscribe yourself if you haven’t tried them yet. If they aren’t for you, it’s easy to unsubscribe at the bottom of every message.

sign up in the box on the right-hand side of your screen

Sign up in the box on the right-hand side of your screen. You’ll have to scroll up to the top.

In addition to signing up, I would love your guidance about what kind of Moment to select. I have pictures galore. Some are color and contemporary, like the sample above. Some are old and frayed.

I’m thinking of collecting the best 100 of these into a book called 100 Magical Memoir Moments. I may call some of my tribe members together to help me select which 100. Let me know if you had a favorite and/or want to help select.

As you think about your own Magical Memoir Moments, do you have a story to share of a time your heart was pierced by memory? I’m all ears!

Shirley Showalter


  1. Joan on March 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    You go, Shirley. Once you write a great book, there’s no stopping.

    • shirleyhs on March 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks, Joan. You are well on your way with your own book. Write on!

  2. Marian Beaman on March 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I’m already subscribed and enjoy the 2-way communication it invites.

    Yes, I like the idea of a MMM collection. You already have a treasury of material and you can count on your tribe to add to and select from the gatherings.

    In the meantime, I will tweet this post, Shirley!

    • shirleyhs on March 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks, Marian. I like that you so often respond to the MMMs in your mail box. That makes the messages so much more fun. Cupid’s arrows fly from story to story, from heart to heart.

      Tell Cliff not to judge my art work too harshly. 🙂

  3. Laurie Buchanan on March 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Shirley – You said, “I have pictures galore. Some are color and contemporary, like the sample above. Some are old and frayed.”

    From my perspective (I happen to be a Libra, represented by scales), I’d like to suggest that you BALANCE the best of BOTH.

    I hope you’re having an amazing day!

    • shirleyhs on March 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks, Laurie. I appreciate this advice from such a balanced person. I’m a Leo and love to play with ideas. I immediately thought of one way to do an eBook, with color photos on the right and black and white ones on the left. Thanks!

  4. Elfrieda Schroeder on March 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    My heart was pierced by a memory recently. I was at the funeral of a distant relative who died of Parkinsons at age 81. Because I only recently moved back to where we live now, I hadn’t seen her in a very long time. When I saw her lying in her coffin it reminded me of a time when she was lying that straight. It was in our little one-room mud and straw house in Paraguay. We all slept together there (parents and six children) and never had visitors. That morning I woke up and this person was lying on a cot in the middle of our hut sleeping. She must have arrived at night when I was already asleep. I remember walking around her and seeing her head sticking up above the covers and wondering who that stranger in our house was! It all came back to me at the funeral!

  5. shirleyhs on March 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Elfrieda, I’ll bet you felt shivers down your spine with that memory. It reminds me of the night I was awakened and called to go sit with my father’s body in 1980. His viewing took place in the house, and we were staying in the house overnight before the funeral. As the sun came up, I looked carefully at my father’s face in a new way and saw something I had never seen before. On the sides of his forehead were slight scars from the forceps that had been used to give him birth 55 years earlier. I felt a jolt of electricity and knew I would eventually write the story — which I did 14 years later.

  6. Angela M. Carter on March 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm


    I am a believer in everything you do, because you have a gift for connecting to others. What I like about your posts/ideas is that they are outside of the box. Trust your instinct and offer us what we may not even know we need–until we have it.

    You’re very good at that. Many times I read your mailing list emails and they trigger many thoughts, but I don’t take time to respond. They are appreciated, even if I don’t, and I love how you ask us to relate your memories to our own. We may have a lot that is not in common, but love, pain, loss, and hope are universal.

  7. shirleyhs on March 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you, Angela. It’s good to know that people enjoy the emails even when they don’t respond. In fact, the best response would be a journal entry, or poem, of your own. And I love that last sentence. Some day you and I will present together and end with that sentence!

  8. Kathleen Pooler on March 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Shirley, I love your idea of turning your Magical Memoir Moments into an eBook. What a treasure trove! I have enjoyed being invited into your family stories and photo through these moments. I agree with Marian, there’s no stopping you! And we’re all better off because if it. 🙂

  9. shirleyhs on March 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Kathleen, thank you for the encouragement. I am not at all sure about how to surmount the technical challenges of doing this — if anything can stop me, this would be it. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them! I appreciate that you took the time to stop by.

  10. Kathleen Pooler on March 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Shirley, I would defer to Sharon Lippincott for tips on converting blog posts into an eBook. Here is the link to the guest post she did on my blog about this:http://www.krpooler.com/2013/07/01/from-blog-to-book-an-interview-with-sharon-lippincott/ Sharon is a DIY expert in the technicalities of all these wonderful ideas. Good Luck!

  11. shirleyhs on March 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Good call!

  12. Sherrey Meyer on March 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Shirley, in the medical morass that has been our lives since Christmas, I somehow missed the signup for Cupid’s Arrows. I am subscribed to your blog, so is that all that I need to do, or is there some other place to sign up? I’d love to be a part of this thoughtful and motivating idea of yours!

    • Sherrey Meyer on March 23, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Just found the signup at the top of the page! 🙂

  13. shirleyhs on March 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Sherrey, I will be sending you a Cupid Arrow at 9 a.m. EDT tomorrow. I send with it wishes for good health for both you and your husband. Blessings, Shirley

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