Today’s Daily Prompt is all about memoir. I’ve been writing a lot of memoir lately. I seem to have lost my ability to make stuff up. That, or I’m subconsciously hoarding my imaginative juices until I finally have time to write my novel. That will be a massive undertaking in imagination, let me tell you.
I’m actually procrastinating right now. I want to write another memoir piece, but I’m psyching myself out of it; a phenomenon any writers out there will be familiar with. So, instead of not writing at all, or staring at a blank Word screen for the rest of the afternoon, I’m going to try an exercise I learnt at a writer’s camp back in high school: free writing. Before you write what you want to write, you take a few moments and write stream-of-consciousness for a bit until your mind is clear to write whatever it is that you really want to write.
In actuality, I would love to write this new memoir piece as a poem but I am no good at poetry. I can manipulate language, but I’m no good at creating mood with abstract concepts. I don’t really read poems because I can’t understand them, but sometimes you read a poem and you can just feel the emotion the poet is trying to convey. Apparently I can do that in my prose, but I haven’t mastered it in my poetry. Maybe once I write the piece I could give the poem a go. Food for thought.
This Prompt comes at a perfect time because I’ve been living in my memories a lot recently. You ever have those stretches of time where all you can see is the past? It happens to me every once in a while and I figured I could get a decent post out of it.
Here goes nothing:
I remember the first time I saw you. I was flustered. It was one of the very first mornings I was left alone to open an entire store by myself, and the new supervisor’s shirt still wasn’t sitting comfortably. You smiled and laughed with me as I explained my awkwardness and we talked about how eerie it was to be in a dark, empty shopping centre. As I handed you your change and your breakfast, I lost track of what you were saying as I looked into your eyes and noticed, for the first time, how gorgeous you were. Are.
Years later you told me that the reason you kept coming back to that little shop in the food court was my smile.
I remember the first dinner that you ever made me. It was a sandwich, painstakingly cut and artfully arranged on a try with a cup of cordial and a flower in a glass vase. I’d been forbidden from helping and made to wait in the lounge room with your roommates until you walked in and presented me with that tray. To this day, it is the most delicious sandwich that I have ever eaten.
I remember my mother’s first impression of you. She was picking me up to take me to some appointment. You waved hello, and she waved back as you kissed me on the cheek and went back into the house.
“He’s spunky,” she said, when you were out of earshot.
I remember giving you your refresher course in driving once you got your license renewed. You were so excited to be behind the wheel again that you stalled, bunny hopped, and spun my brand new tyres. All with a low level throb of hip hop in the background.
“Just breaking ’em in for you!” you declared, with that damned cheeky grin on your face.
I remember one of the worst fights we ever had. It wasn’t a fight so much as an exhausted surrender. I was struggling with the aftermath of being betrayed by someone I’d considered a friend and hadn’t realised that I’d been shutting you out. That is until that one tear escaped as you were talking. It slid down your cheek and burned a hole through my heart.
I remember running into you on the street while we were in the midst of a “break”. I wasn’t sure how to act, but you told me that things would get better soon, then you kissed me and scurried away. That night, you called me.
I remember driving to your mother’s house on Christmas Eve. The headlights had stopped working, it was pouring with rain, a mercilessly black night, and the winding country roads were pocked with so many potholes that they were roads only in name. When we finally arrived, you pried my hand off the steering wheel, squeezed it and said “Well done, baby.”
Then we walked in and I shook your mother’s hand for the first time.
I remember our first Valentine’s Day after I moved away for uni. I dropped your roommate off in town, drove back, and waited at the front door as you put the finishing touches on your surprise. I shut my eyes and you led me inside. There the passionate strains of Whitney Houston wrapped around me as I opened my eyes and took in the rose petals, the candles, and the mysterious envelope that was home to one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
I remember, after one of our louder arguments, you saying that we only fight because our relationship is worth fighting for.
“The day we stop fighting is the day we stop caring.”
I remember the day I left. I remember searching every room for any remaining trace of me and stuffing those traces in my handbag. I remember handing back my keys and giving you an awkward hug goodbye. I remember driving away with my things jammed into the car and not looking back.
I remember not crying. Not until I came back to get some of the more expensive things I’d overlooked. You weren’t home until I’d already loaded everything into the car. My friend was waiting for me in the passenger seat as I said goodbye again, crying into your shoulder.
I remember the day I realised that I’d made a mistake. I was visiting the city that had once been mine as was now yours. I’d seen you almost everyday and it was like we’d started living our lives again. I remember saying the words “I love you” for the first time in months. I remember you saying it back.
There you go. I could have kept going but I felt myself getting a little too sappy. No one wants to read too much sentimentality. And writing it gets to you after a while.
Hopefully my next post will be a link to something I’ve finally had published. But, more than likely, it will be another review. Good thing you all like books, eh?