This is a continuation of Melanie Rae Thon’s exercises. Please see last week’s post for Part One: Brainstorming.
Part Two: Remembering
Look at your list from Part One.
Focus on the one that seems most compelling at this moment. (Sometimes a single event may be intertwined with several others–that’s fine. Try to explore them one at a time and perhaps combine them later.)
Try to remember as many details of the event as possible. Be specific. Focus on actual images, things you can perceive with your senses. (When you try to remember, imagine you are watching a movie of yourself in the past. What do you see and hear? If you could step inside the movie, what would you smell, taste, feel with your hands?) Avoid abstract words (love, hate, fear, rage, sorrow). Just try to conjure your movie through sensory details.
Begin this exercise with the words I remember. Every time you get stuck, say I remember again. Repeat the phrase until another image comes to you. Don’t stop writing. Write for at least 10 minutes, aim for 15. Don’t worry about telling the story. The purpose of this step is to evoke images, to discover what you already know.
I DON’T REMEMBER
Begin a second writing exercise with the words I don’t remember. Try to list all the things you wish you remembered but don’t. (For example, I can remember my grandmother’s purse but not the sound of her voice.)
Sometimes saying I don’t remember makes you remember another detail. Don’t worry if you stray, but when you’re stuck, say I don’t remember and keep going.
Again, write for 10 to 15 minutes.
Try the I remember/ I don’t remember exercise three separate times (in different moods, at different times of the day, etc.) If several events seem linked, try separate exercises for each one.
Stay tuned for Part Three.