Show, don’t tell

As I handed my Hold Mail card to Bruce, the post office clerk, I casually mentioned that I figured I’d save my mother the trouble of checking my mail while I was away.

“Who’s your mother?”

“Cecilia Mullen.”

Eyes big, recognition dawning, “You’re Nibs’ daughter? Of course, you look just like her.”

Eyes growing bigger, locking on my face, “And you look just like your father too. You’re the perfect blend of the two of them. I’ve seen you so many times before, and now it’s all coming together. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.”

There’s so much for me to mine in this little moment:

  • I love living in a small town.
  • I love being reminded that I am both my mother’s and my father’s daughter.
  • I love the image of the pieces coming into focus for Bruce.
  • I love how that image of integration is a visual metaphor for my own journey towards wholeness.

Show, don’t tell. Pay attention to the stories in the little moments of your day. Jot them down. Reflect on what they mean to you. Sharing your stories, and their significance, are what people mean when they say “show, don’t tell.”

Author: suzettemullenharrel

I write memoir, and I coach students through the college and graduate school admissions essay writing process.