Tuesday, April 24, 2007

TO WRITE: A Sound from Childhood
Memories, especially those from childhood, can often evoke strong emotions, as well as triggering even more memories. Instead of replaying the same old childhood stories in your mind (we all have some that we rely on to piece together the story of our life), try with this exercise about specific sounds to see what other details or experiences you may not have thought about for a while. "New" material can supply all sorts of creative undertakings. In addition, focusing on specific sensory experiences makes for strong writing.

Play with this...
First, brainstorm a list of five to ten specific sounds you recall from childhood. My list includes the zip when my father cast his fishing line from a canoe on a lake, and the blaring honk of the tornado alarm in elementary school. Next, choose one of these sounds -- preferably one you haven't thought about for a long time -- and write for 20 minutes about your experiences relating to it. Then consider how it felt to write this memory -- was it sad, funny, a relief, an "aha" experience? If a particularly difficult memory came up, give yourself a few more minutes to write an imaginary ending to the story that wraps things up in a way you'd prefer.

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