Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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Verbal Snapshots

(If you like to capture daily moments with Verbal Snapshots, please also check out One-Moment Memoirs, a self-paced writing workshop to help you tell the stories of your life, moment by moment.)

What's a Verbal Snapshot?

Verbal Snapshots are those tiny moments of time when the day takes your hand and whispers," Pay attention to this. To this world. To this life. To this moment." And you do.

Sometimes there's no time to snap a picture. Sometimes the scope of what you want to capture is too big, too small, or too fleeting for any camera.

I wrote my first Verbal Snapshot on Twitter when I saw an elderly man in a suit riding a red and silver bicycle. I didn't get a photo of him, but I wanted to capture the image, so I described it and called it a Verbal Snapshot.

Verbal Snapshots are the word equivalents of Instagram and all those photo we take with our phones on the go. Recently I've made a practice of describing the moments in time that catch my eye, my heart, or my fancy. Language is how I make sense of the world, and so much of what I write blooms from simple moments of beauty, joy, wonder, or oddity. These little "Language-grams" are my reminders to pay attention to the world around me and to look for the stories waiting to be told.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to see these snippets as I publish them and play along with the hastag #VerbalSnapshot. (Follow me on Instagram for #onemomentmemoirs using words & images.) You're also invited to leave your Verbal Snapshots in the comments below.

Wind at Work: A red-and-white-striped patio umbrella on its side at the bottom of a grassy hillside.

White petal confetti on wet spring green grass.

Oreo cow.

Two fuzzy brown ducklings on a green slope littered with stale bread.

A white plastic bag floats, like a ghostly balloon, in the wind above a cemetery.

3 llamas in a field: One chocolate brown. One vanilla white. And one choco-caramel-swirl w/ an ebony head & white eyebrows.

Tiny parade route: Dozens of flags festoon neighborhood lawns, marking utility lines in red, blue, green, orange, yellow, white.

Man & woman in full hiking gear, including huge backpacks & trekking poles, stroll along a street in a suburban subdivision.

The In-between Season: A robin hops among chunks of snow twice his height.

A perfect circle of honey-colored tea fills a white porcelain teacup sitting upon a caramel-brown tabletop. (3/23/13)

Two trains on parallel tracks pass each other in opposite directions. For a split second, the engines look ready to kiss. (3/21/13)

Wall-mounted clothes dryers sit empty and dark in the laundromat, like quiet portals to another place. (3/20/13)

Family of 5 out for a cold, spring day walk. Light mist falls. Mom, dad, boy, & dog stroll. Younger boy sleeps in stroller. (3/16/13)

Days in March: White-grey sky. Bare tree twigs with barely-plump buds. Last year's leaves matted into winter grass. (3/12/13)

Candlelight glow through white paper wrapper. Empty mason jar. Broken grey seashell. Small black stone with white stripe. (3/1/13)

A blue and white pillow supports a baggie of ice beneath a foot in a mauve knee-sock.

A grey cat stares out the window at falling snow, his fur ruffling in the breeze from the heat vent beneath his feet. (2/20/13)

A toddler stands in a front yard that's now more green than white; she towers over the smallest snowman I've ever seen. (2/16/13)

A woman with long dark hair in a white coat outside a mansion-turned-funeral-home while snow filigrees bare tree branches. (2/15/13)

Vintage cherry-red Volkswagen Beetle trundling along with a dark green Christmas tree strapped to the roof. (12/24/12)

Grey-haired gent in tan sport coat and slacks, riding a shiny red & silver bicycle past the post office on Good Friday. (4/6/12)