July 14, 2008


When I was attending University of Montana studying creative writing, I wrote a poem to St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things. The poem was inspired by a set of lost keys for which I had to pay $50. They belonged to the dorm where I was living and my $50 deposit was supposed to be returned when I returned the keys. It was a lot of money for a college student to lose.
So I've decided that in my spare time {ha ha} I want to start writing a collection of short stories. I love writing; it brings me a certain level of peace and solitude. Which I desperately need right now. And even though my career is going well, I've always felt like a quitter for not pursuing it as a profession and giving it my 100%. But, for now I'll just settle for some short stories with a theme.
I'd like to focus on the idea of things lost and I'm hoping for some input. When I lose something I cover every emotion on the pendulum swing of emotions. Extreme panic. Sadness and remorse. Fear. And if I'm lucky enough to find it again...gratitude and happiness.
To ask if you've lost something would be ridiculous; of course you have. I think everyone has experienced that. But I'd like to hear some of the stories. What did you lose? Where do you think you lost it? Why was it important to you? Did it belong to someone before it was yours? Is it a happy ending; did you end up finding it again and vowing to take better care of it? If you have a story to tell I'd love to hear about it. Maybe your experience can inspire one of my stories. If they turn out well, I'll publish them here when they are done.


Grandma B said...

praying to patron saints is an interesting thing to do tonia. i have the prayer to saint dymphna, the patron saint for mental illness. i strongly believe that if you invoke their help, answers will come. it is interesting you would pray to a saint though...that in itself would be a wonderful story tonia. LOL

Tonia Conger said...

Well, I didn't actually pray to the Saint. It was more imploring through the medium of poetry. That and I had a poem due at the same time I was searching for my keys. So it seemed fitting.

dayna said...

my last losing was my journal. it is my journal from the last 6 years of my life--post mission, engagement, marriage, first babe, first move, first career, first home purchase, second babe...so much was in there that i literally became sick with the loss. nauseated and sick. lot of heart ache and tears, and prayers to find it. i did find it tucked away in a travel bag i hadn't used in 3 months. relief and gratitude galor! in the time that i lost it i was thinking about all the things i needed to write and record, and since finding it one month ago, i still haven't written those things. i need to do that.

Jenna Holm said...

When I was a kid, I remember losing my hearing aids quite often. I'm remembering this fondly because there were occasions I'm sure I lost them on purpose! Being born with this hearing loss (oh my, how ironic!) was not a choice so whenever I wore these devices, sounds were much louder than I found appropriate. Taking them out of my ears was the quickest and most reasonable solution. As I grew older I have made a choice to permanently lose my hearing "aids" and have lived with the consequences/blessings ever since. Sitting on the front row of every classroom since second grade, not always "getting" the joke, intentionally dating men with deep, bass-like voices (and marrying one)... I believe that everything happens for a reason and these are just a few of mine from two losses.

porter hovey said...

Good luck on the project. I'm sure it will just be amazing. (btw I'm just in awe of the lost elephant poster)

tim and brandi said...

You should write a story about when I "lost" my drivers license. That was a really rough time in my life, but oh man, did I learn a lot about myself.


sam's mom said...

On Friday, June 13th I went to a beautiful park in a very swanky part of town, with my wonderful 15 month old, Samuel. I did not want to be encumbered by my purse, so I tucked my phone into my pocket and my purse under a J.Crew bag (not a smart move I admit)on the floor of the front passenger seat. Sam and I were in the park for about an hour and after I had strapped him back into his car seat and given him a big kiss I noticed the smashed window. The J.Crew bag and the purse were gone. I was so mad. I called the police and tried my best not to use the Queen Mother of swear words in front of my child. As I began to tell the police dispatcher what was in the bag, my wallet, 6 credit cards, $8.00 in cash, it hit me. . .my sketch book with 6 years of drawings, my son's baby footprints, and (I gasped and began to cry. . .my engagement ring)!

Once the initial shock wore off it was the baby footprints over which I was most heartsick. I love my engagment ring, but it's insured. The baby footprints are priceless.

I have been saying that motherhood has been the most wonderful lesson in letting go. . .I am a bit of a control freak and though my husband and I had been married 7 years before I got pregnant, we weren't planning on having children. So, as you can imagine, there's a lot of letting go and letting god. I learned that there is a plan, even if I am not privy to the plan it is there nonetheless.

So, after an afternoon of tears, I decided that since I cannot change what happened I can only change how I react, I became determined to change my reaction. What mattered most was not the ring or the footprints but the fact that I have a happy, healthy little boy and the love and support of a wonderful husband (who never even gave me a hard time about leaving my engagement ring in my wallet in the car).

So, I focused on finding the bag, I envisioned myself being elated when the bag was returned to me with everything in it. I knew somehow that it was on a hiking path.I focused for the whole weekend and then, I just let it go.

The following Thursday, I received a phone call. . .my bag had been found on a hiking trail. I WAS elated.

When I picked it up it was soaking wet, it had rained like the dickens for the whole week. Inside my purse was EVERYTHING, everything except the $8.00. They must not have even seen the ring.

And to top it all off the portion of the page with the most perfect of Sam's footprints was completely dry.

Quite a lesson.

Sorry this was so long. I think maybe I'll turn it into a short story, better work on the telling though.
Good Luck. . .this is an honest to god true story. . .New Haven Police record number 273-95.

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin? I think the first thing that comes to mind was my Franklin planner circa 1997?. Do you know that V.W. dealership in Provo? It is that overpass before you head over to Novell. Well long story short, I saw an incredible cabriolet that I had to look at. I had both of my windows down and both of my doors unlocked. I parked on the side of the road knowing that my visit would be brief. It was a sunny day and my short love affair with the cabriolet lasted for fifteen minutes. When I returned to my car, my Franklin was gone! I was incredibly sad because it had pictures that I could no longer replace. One of them was a friend from 2nd grade who I am no longer in contact with. I think the sadness lasted for about two weeks. I didn't want to buy another planner. I never carried pictures from that point on. I am saddened once again by sharing this story.

Shannon said...

Whenever I lose something that I have misplaced I always say the poem taught to me by my mother as a child...to St. Anthony as well..."Tony Tony turn around help me find what can't be found"
Sometimes taking that minute to speak the words and allowing my brain to wrap itself in something other than "where was the last place" or "when did I wear it last" gives me just enough pause to remember. Oh and also the little nudge from St. Anthony (aka Tony) to push me in the right direction.

The Meesh said...

"What have you lost lately?" Man, what a loaded question. I'll answer in brief: any outside thing from which I derive validation and stability. Work, love, friends. In that order. I don't mean that to sound like a pity party because through these experiences I have indeed gained all three of those things back but with one most important addition: God, work, love, and friends.

Valerie said...

This made me remember losing a little plastic aardvark when I was like 11 or so. My family was waiting for the el train in Chicago after attending the Taste of Chicago. I kept trying to pop my little sister's balloon with the aardvark's nose, but instead of popping it, the aardvark bounced off the balloon, through the el tracks and presumably onto the busy Chicago street below. I was devastated. I don't know why I was so attatched to that little plastic thing but I was. Enough so that my dad went down to the street and tried to find it for me. I think I cried most of the way home.

Oh, and the aardvark's name was Bobby.