I’m spending a few weeks leading you through a useful writing exercise which can give you a story out of your memories. If you haven’t read or followed from the beginning, go back two posts to start at the beginning. If you’ve been following along the past few posts, you’ve now described the place of your childhood memories. You’ve added a character. Now let’s move on.
The author leading a group of us through this exercise told us to “fast forward to today.” He explained we were to describe the place as it is today. If you don’t know, then imagine what it might be like.
“Mine’s not there anymore,” I said. “So now what do I do?”
He smiled, then said, “Describe what’s there in its place.”
Last time I had visited my childhood home, I had looked across the road at the kopje. It was still there of course, but I could see immediately that my favourite spot was no more. At the top of the kopje was a huge double-storied house. I had never seen it up close, but following our tutor’s suggestion, I wrote a page of description. I imagined a beautiful rose garden in front of this impressive house. I described the tall, carved front door, and the steep flight of red polished steps that led up to it.
My imagination was by now running in full gear. I decided to explore the grounds and look for my giant boulder and the tree where I used to do my homework. Sure enough, I found them, round the side of the house, in the same position that I remembered them. But they had changed. The boulder was nothing like as huge, and the tree, although older, wasn’t as high as I remembered. I realised that it wasn’t the boulder or the tree that had changed. I had grown up. I found it interesting that my memory updated the facts for me.
I looked forward to the next step the tutor would have for our class. How could all these trips down memory lane contribute to a story?
Over the next few days catch up if necessary, and bring your memories up to this point. Describe the place of your childhood as it appears today. If you don’t know, then be creative. After all, you’re a writer. That’s what writers do. Meet me back here next Monday for the next step.