Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spark Your Memory: Week 2 Suggested Topics

So we're using immediate moments in our writing this week.  


I find that certain emotional topics lend themselves to moment-by-moment recall:
  • Impatience
    • Can you remember waiting in a line?  Perhaps at the grocery store when there is a price check, then coupons, then something that needs to be voided or returned, and then you have to go to the bathroom...
    • Can you recall being approved for something?  Often, the hurtles and unexpected problems as you attempted to gain admission or achieve a goal will pop into your mind with startling detail.
  • Nostalgia
    • Is there a moment that you find yourself missing from your past?  For instance, does smelling someone's cigar suddenly remind you of a specific moment with your grandfather?  These nostalgia triggers, particularly smell triggers, can often bring back detailed memories.
    • Is there a lesson that you continually try to impress to your children or grandchildren based on your experiences as a child?  If so, try telling it the other way--as a child looking forward.  You may be surprised at what you suddenly remember, particularly as it is brought into relief by your wisdom and experience now.
  • Saying hello or goodbye
    • You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.  Occasionally, our first impressions of something seemed burned on our brains.  This would be a good time to take advantage of that detail.
    •  Often when I say goodbye, I am consciously soaking up every detail so that I will remember later when I predict I will miss the person or place I am leaving.  These instances can provide a wealth of immediate moments.
  • Longing
    • Have you ever been away from home and longed for your mother's home cooking?  I bet you can recall the smell, texture, sight, taste, everything possible from that missed meal.  This is the time to put that in writing.
    • There is nothing to make you remember the benefits of the great outdoors like being stuck inside on a beautiful day.  Use one of those moments of longing to pull out the details you need for this piece.
Other moments that crystallize for me are "Milestone" moments:
  • Your wedding
  • The first day of school
  • Holding your child for the first time
  • The first day of your first job
  • Overcoming the neighborhood bully
 A third way to write this piece, and a way that mitigates a good balance between showing and telling, is to pick something in your daily routine and then write a how-to and then turn it into a how-not-to:
  • How to brush your teeth
  • How to clean up your room super fast without your mom knowing you didn't really clean it.
  • How to make breakfast
  • How to get ready for bed
  • How to get dressed up

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