Saturday, February 26, 2011

Collage As Autobiography

Little Jo Joins The Band

Little Jo's Future Told Through Collage
Sometimes an irresistible notion comes along and all one can do is run with it.  That's what happened with me this morning. I was minding my business, drinking a fine cup of coffee when I thought, "I can use Little Jo to tell my life story for family and friends". I'll use Little Jo images to look into the future through photographs and collage. And I'll write a short story about that time to go along with each collage.

Oh brother. I can tell right now that this is going to be work.... fun, but work. I'm not promising a story a day; maybe not even one a week. But when the story comes to mind I'll go with it.

Memoir Writing
Many years ago an elderly friend (she was probably the age I am now so she couldn't have been as ancient as I thought at the time) took a class at her community collage on memoir writing and she kept writing for many years and published her memoirs for family and a few friends. That was before the ease of self-publishing through online companies which may be what I'll eventually do.  I don't expect to turn this project into something as big as Jacqueline's but whatever I do will be treasured by my family.

I'm already doing something similar. When my oldest granddaughter was 7 I started a journal for her, telling about my own life at her age. I have all my old report cards which are included as are little stories and photographs. Sometimes I don't remember anything personal so I write about generalities of living in our small town and about what was going on in the outside world. I was about 7 when my mother and the friend we were visiting heard of the end of WWII on the radio. I remember the excitement of knowing that war had come to an end, and I remember troop trains carrying men and machines as they came through town, heading for war.

So that's the kind of thing that goes in Amy's book as I add more stories every year on her birthday. This year I'll write about me at age 13; that would be this story about Little Jo, the majorette.

Little Jo Leads the Parade
I've always loved music and through the years I took hundreds of lessons... piano, voice, dance, band, choir, though I was too undisciplined to ever do my best. When I was in 6th grade I joined the band and started with the trombone. That instrument lasted only a year until I switched to clarinet, but my main love was marching in the school band. The director asked me to try out for majorette in 7th grade which was fine with me because I could then be in the band without bothering with an instrument until late fall when marching season was over and concert band began. We performed at every game and marched in every parade. What fun!  Then when I was in 11th grade I became the drum majorette and led the parade for the next 2 years. I still like to lead the parade.

So what about you?  Are you writing your story, or painting it, or making collages about your life, or keeping scrapbooks and photo albums? The time is now!


  1. sounds like Little Jo is in for a great run. Terrific idea and a wonderful gift to yourself and your family.

  2. Little Jo is a beautiful girl, your One a Day collages are beautiful. Some of us can't even write a thank you note, you should write your memoirs, your family will love it!

  3. Appreciated you sharing the thoughts and plans you are mulling over. Me too. Mulling over what is next...yes legacy at this point...working on children's book now-more ahead?-maybe partner with my grandkids, will self publish probably-blurb? It's a process-day by day.
    Great reading about your life as a little Jo.

  4. Jo, such wonderful ideas, to tell your story through little Jo, and the journal for your granddaughter. What a treasure it will be to her and her children and so on...

    I began journals for each of my children when they were born...I have been neglectful in writing in them. I kind of gave up I was so far behind, but really I could pull them out and begin again...

    love this collage, and that photo of sassy you!! :)

  5. Great post Jo, and I love your majorette collage :) I use my artwork as a journal often, but I've never thought of writing to go along with it. What a nice legacy you are leaving for your granddaughter!

  6. what a great project to do for your grand daughter! wow, what a gift! I hope you will include a few of your little jo illustrations... maybe little jo chould be her friend in a collage? :-)

  7. What a great idea Jo! I love this composition! This would be a really nice childrens book idea!!

  8. Thank you, my friends, for your comments and kudos. These really are fun to make and connecting the stories with the artwork is something I really like to do.

  9. years ago I did a series of paintings on childhood memories-- mostly child-like drawings incorporated into my non-objective paintings. And before each painting I would type up some memories - often painful or sad memories of my childhood--for my eyes only. it was quite healing and I worked through the series and moved on.

  10. Jo, your stories are great and the collages capture the essence of each story. They remind me of our ancestor deck cards that we
    made several years ago.

  11. Jo, this is a great idea. Can't wait to see what unfolds!


I appreciate comments and questions.

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