Saturday, October 24, 2015
'Warning the Stars' #38: Memory Writes
It is important to remember. Without a past...a digesting of things gone, times we've left behind us...how can we ever properly define our present, or understand the future when it does arrive?
Despite the idea that the past is the past (and it is, don't misunderstand there is no going back there again), the past also has much to do with who we are and what we have become. In a cause and effect sort of way, the present can be defined by the past (it doesn't have to be, though).
Depending on what has happened, the events and words and images of our pasts that we have stored in the closets of our minds, the past can represent something positive (personal growth and overcoming defeating obstacles) or they can represent a time we'd rather forget (an accident that changed our lives, losses that occurred and changed us in some way).
I think, as writers (as people, in general, but especially for writers), it is important to understand our past. To examine it. We can cultivate our past for writing material much the same that we can study the past in order to change the present and modify the future.
So, for this week, we are going to call upon our memories of the past and incorporate those memories into our writing.
Consider these pointers as you attempt to write about your past/memories:
1. Spark your memory with old photos. There's no better way of pulling you back in time to your early childhood, than seeing a picture of yourself at that age. Look at pictures, consider what was happening in them...try to remember interactions, conversations, smells, the surroundings.
2. Look at memory books, scrapbooks, and old yearbooks. This will help you pinpoint some important milestones and memories that you made an attempt to preserve. Think about why they were important to you then and what they mean to you now.
3. Do you have keepsakes you have kept...old letters from friends in high school, college textbooks, diplomas, cards, invitations, flyers? Not only will this pull you back into another place and time...you may find you are remembering things you thought you had forgotten.
4. Look around the house for old things/items/memorabilia that have been passed down to you from other family members. Think of all the places, the history of these items and what that means to you and who you are. You can also write about the people who owned them, who those people were. For example, who was your grandmother at thirty when she opened a gift from your grandfather, a porcelain vase that was handed down to you thirty years later?
5. Make lists of friends who have exited your life (for whatever reasons). Make lists of family members who have passed away. Relationships you had during certain eras of your life. Still yet, make another list of family members who are living. Think of prominent memories you shared with these people, important events, words they said to you that meant something. Write about these memories, how they defined an era or your life. Write about their relation to who you are today. Did any of these people, or your experiences with them, mold you into who you are right now?
6. Holidays, marriages, deaths, births, divorces, graduations, birthday parties, family reunions, vacations, natural disasters, accidents. These are all excellent material to be cultivated for writing. Recalling these events may also help you spark memories you'd forgotten or hadn't thought of in years.
7. Buy, and keep, a small notebook for writing with your memories. The past is a large and vast reservoir of writing material, you need only dig and hone into these memories...use them for your creative endeavors!
8. Start keeping a journal. The things that happen to you today will be merely memories five years from now. Write in detail as much as often, the events (especially important or defining events) so you can have a clear, precise record for memory writing in the future!
I hope you all enjoy your stroll down memory lane! Safe travels until next week, friends!