Turning point- reflections on triggers. Part 1: archives

Last New Year, my brother and I brought home all my journals and artwork from storage.  We recently brought home all the family photo albums and objects.  I love being the family archivist.  I love seeing the heirlooms showcased in my kids’ collections and in the extended family’s homes.  I love that the next generation is able to touch the objects, hear the stories, hold actual photographs.

 My studio-bedroom space is a womb-room and for me, being surrounded by relics of the past, feeds my creative work.  I know it’s not normal to surround myself with so much shit  (as some have put it).

But it is essential for me.

My dad was a master scrapbook keeper and his ability to archive, write and reflect formed my own habits and processes.  My mom hated keeping diaries.  She often told me-  I just want to forget.  But she kept things.  So Dad kept the scrapbooks and photos, mom kept the objects- and am I grateful to be surrounded by both.

The investigative side to my personality requires access to images, writings, clues that lead to connecting the dots and understanding.  It’s the background on what makes people (or more accurately me) do what they (I) do- and it helps me both in my work on Molly and in my work with youth.

It’s all about the functional behavioural assessment through clues, if you will.

But there is a price.  Within these relics lie triggers and heartache.   A small pamphlet can bring a flood of memory.  A simple receipt can open wounds.  A journal entry (to be explored tomorrow in Part 2) can bring me to my knees.


This week I want to explore triggers in my life– their roles as fodder for creative work, their potential to help in self-development and their ability to create turning points.

There’s something about a roller coaster that triggers strong feelings, maybe because most of us associate them with childhood. They’re inherently cinematic; the very shape of a coaster, all hills and valleys and sickening helices, evokes a human emotional response.

Diablo Cody


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