Renee Aubuchon’s 26-Minute Memoir

Hi Readers,

26In 2009 I started a blog called 26-Minute Memoir and started publishing 26-Minute Memoirs--stories that describe the essence of your life written in 26 minutes–from students, friends, WIMD 34Facebook and blog followers. In my book Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too), I encourage readers to write their own 26-Minute Memoir and send it to me, and they have! Over the next few weeks, I will be posting these writings. Below you’ll find Renee Aubuchon’s 26-Minute Memoir. Please feel free to write one of your own. You can find instructions and links to other 26-Minute Memoirs here:


26-Minute Memoir

By Renee Aubuchon

The other day I saw a weed growing up between cracks in the sidewalk.  There was this vibrant, determined green glory of a plant crowned by a sun gathering yellow flower and I thought- that’s me.

I am surrounded by concrete, and still I bloom.

Now I am wondering if I am not only the flower, but also the concrete.  I am wondering how I create my own concrete.

I am going off topic.

That moment in the morning when the air is still and gently full of mystery, when the sky is blue and pink and full of possibility.  That’s me.

When you are at the beach and the sun hangs low in the sky, and the fading sunlight flies like sparks on the edges of waves. That’s me.  I am that sun.  Those sparks.  That wave.

When you go into a bookstore and someone looks at you for the briefest moment and returns to their book.  That’s me.  I have thought of saying hello and told myself you probably don’t want to hear from me.  Then I will wonder why I am lonely.

When I play my drum and the rhythm is tentative, finding itself, and then becomes joyful and sure.  That’s me.  It is also me when the rhythm stumbles.  When it stops.  When there is silence.

I am also the gray haired lady in the grocery store pushing a cart down the isle.  Hair tamed into a ponytail.  There and not there.  That’s me.  That is also me, putting the groceries into the car and then driving them home.  That is me, being tired, aching, bringing the bags of groceries in and putting them away.

That is me… the one who is grateful I can buy groceries.

I am also one of the silence seekers.  I love silence.  I am some of the possibilities silence holds.  I live with someone who likes to have the TV on whether she is in the room or not because the noise keeps her loneliness at bay.  I am the one she is annoyed with when I come home, because she knows I would prefer some silence.

I am also the holder of griefs to come.  I am the one who is afraid of losing people, and am in that stage of life wherein one loses people.  These tears forming in my eyes as I write this.  I am those tears.

I am a glimmering of happiness that loves children more and more the older I get.  I love them in their beauty.  Their innocence.  Because they do not know what it is like to be old.  Even their parents seem young and beautiful to me.  And yet I am also every old person that you see.  I love them and I know them because they are me and I have become them.

I am the blue sky.  And mostly I am also clouds that form and turn into mist and disappear.  I am that cloud that is vaporizing.  I am those tendrils of cloud that you can still see, those fine wisps, and then I am also the nothing of the cloud that is left behind.

I am this tiredness I hold.  This tiredness that I am afraid of, and this tiredness who speaks to me of rest.  Of turning.  I am  also, in my imagination, a dancer.  My imaginary dancer does not need rest.  She leaps into the air, extends her arms and legos out into space and is free.  See how effortlessly she flows into the air!

That is me.  That flowing.  That rising into the air.

This is me also, the person who finds it difficult to get out of a chair gracefully.

At this point I am tired of writing about me.  Writing about so many things I am and am not.  I look for the essence of who I am and I see emptiness, a place of no things.  This is not bad,  It is freedom.  

I am that potential.

I am the sound of Alan Watt’s laugh when he used to say, “You see?”

I am one of those people Walt Whitman reached out to across time and who was saved by him.  I am the yearning and the love of life in his poems.  You will find me there.  You will find all of us there.

I am no different than you.

We are, after all, one.

About Theo Pauline Nestor

Author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Learn more about my courses, editing, and coaching at
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9 Responses to Renee Aubuchon’s 26-Minute Memoir

  1. Renee, I love this. It is heartfelt and shows so many sides of yourself and I could relate to so much of what you expressed – the human condition. Keep playing your drums and looking at the sky, feeling free and abundant.
    Jeanne Verville

  2. oboygirl1 says:

    What a thoughtful expression of one’s Self. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Nancy Lee Kael says:

    You have so captured the churning of thoughts that exist when one is aging, to not feel invisible amidst the streams of younger, perhaps more colorlful folks around us, yet aware of how we are all one, and at the same time feeling that we are no one when the lonliness and loss of some we treasured creeps in those spaces between where we are celebrating life, perhaps some sadness from our tears sprinkles the sidewalk where that first flower appeared.

  4. reneesarah says:

    Thank you for reading my brief memoir. I am honored by your comments!

  5. hbksloss says:

    This is lovely! It reads like a meditation.

  6. I love, “And yet I am every old person you see.” Your writing made me feel like I am, and am not, the only, lonely, white-haired woman, who thinks about her mortality and writes blogs about “The Plum Tree Blooms Again,” to no one in particular.

  7. It took me awhile to get to this but it was worth the wait. I can’t believe anyone could write something with so much feeling in 26 minutes. I felt it all. I feel it all. Wow!

  8. Anne McDonald says:

    Startlingly beautiful. What a talent…to be able to reach deeper than all those layers of self from which we usually speak. I am awed by the creative brilliance of your perception. Wish I knew you!

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