snippetsThis guest post is reprinted by permission from Fresh Views, a monthly newsletter published  by Sharon Eakes, an internationally acclaimed  personal and executive coach and a treasured personal friend. Her focus this month on “snippets” is reminiscent of terms like watershed moments, turning points, or shimmering images used as story prompts and memoir organizers. You’ll be hearing more about snippets in an upcoming post or two based on epiphanies I experienced during a recent trip to Peru. 

Snippet: a small piece of something, a bit, a scrap, or fragment


I recently visited my daughter, Lisa, in California. Driving to the coast, we passed the Lagunitas Deli. I had a vivid memory of going there over twenty years ago on the way to a picnic. I asked the clerk, “Do you sell single rolls?” and he handed me a roll of toilet paper. “No, no, a sandwich roll,” I laughed. And he gave me the other kind of roll. Nothing worth remembering about that encounter, but I remember who I was with, the face of the clerk, our laughing together.

It seems to me that life is made up of snippets: scraps of time, memory, experience. It doesn’t surprise me that I remember the big highs and lows…the time I was climbing rocks on the beach and nearly got swept into the ocean when the tide came in faster than anticipated. The moments after giving birth. Of course, one would remember those. But it’s the small things, the snippets of memory or experience that entertain me on a daily basis.

  • When my son Gordon was two, he asked me to remove a “crumb of light” from his crib. It changed light for me and I’ll never forget the phrase. It may also have been the first clue that he would be a consummate wordsmith.
  • While on my morning walk last Thursday, a squirrel walked next to me along the top of a fence. At the end of the block we stopped and looked each other in the eye for what seemed like a long time before he skedaddled up a tree. For just a moment I felt genuinely connected to him. That reminded me of a time many years ago when a dolphin played peek-a-boo with me at the mouth of the Kiawah River for 3 mornings in a row!

This morning I was with friends who were sharing snippets. No complaining. No boasting. Just sharing. And being touched and tickled in turn.

I’m thinking we should write down some of our snippets, our stories. My grandfather did this, and I am so grateful. He lived in such a different time. Because I only knew him as a somewhat sedate older gentleman, it is delightful to know about the time he and his friends played a trick on their teacher by moving his buggy out of the garage and lodging it between two trees. Imagine their consternation when Mr. Brown turned out to be in the buggy they’d just moved, and said, “Thank you boys, I would have had to hitch the horses to move the buggy.”


  1. How can you become aware of and treasure your snippets of experience as you live them?
  2. What snippet in memory can you share to entertain both yourself and some friend or family member?
  3. Write your snippets down or record them. Your family and friends will be glad you did.

Write now: think of a snippet or two of your own and share them in a comment on this post.

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Photo credit:  Bert Heymans


Linda Austin said...

Yes, I am equating snippets with shimmering images. I have a lot of these past moments of extreme awareness, like being on vacation and squatting in the dust with my sister looking at acorns, hearing a blue jay call, and then realizing my parents were nowhere in sight. This leads to the little lost girls story. I say I'm writing a series of "flash memoirs," but maybe snippets is a better word.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Sharon,
Gosh it was so nice to see a comment from you on my blog yesterday. I felt we'd lost touch. Guess you came and went in Albuquerque and we didn't get a chance to "meet." Hope you had a wonderful trip. I do believe life is made up of snippets. I try to capture the ones that really speak to me.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Linda, I love that term, shimmering images. Lisa Dale Norton was inspired when she coined the phrase! Love your idea of a series of flash memoirs, aka snippets. When I wrote The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, I had not yet fully come to appreciate the power of formal memoir. I devote a fair amount of space to advocating "albums" of simple stories, maybe more complex than snippets, but maybe not. I still think that's a great idea. Formal memoir has its place, but it's not for everyone or all purposes.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Karen, sorry to seem MIA. We have been on the go much of the year, though I do not publicize that fact until later, primarily for home security reasons. Between travel and a couple of intense local projects, it's been impossible to keep up with everyone on a personal basis as much as I'd like. I have not yet been to Albuquerque, and do hope to see you there.

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

"But it’s the small things, the snippets of memory or experience that entertain me on a daily basis." Amen. When I read back over journals it is the smallest details that fill me with sensation.

The very narrow glasses that greeted us in almost every restaurant in Spain bring back sensations more quickly than sweeping landscapes.

I have a jar of rocks painted with nail polish one afternoon because all the toes got finished. The smell of those tiny stones makes me feel as though I have preschoolers again.

I'm here thanks to SuziCate!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Rebecca, I love those snippets you shared. I want to go to Spain to see those glasses, and the rocks -- how precious! I've seen your comments on SuziCate's blog, and admired the name of your blog: Altared Spaces. Ah, so. What sweet stories you share. Welcome here.