‘I’d forgotten all about that!’ – Part 1

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Each and every one of us has a story worth telling. Sometimes, however, it is difficult for us to: A. realize that; B. know where to begin the telling C. devote the time to doing so.

A great way to formulate a story – and to overcome obstacles A, B and C – is to begin with a place from your childhood and build from there. Is there a setting that brings back fond or vivid memories? Start with describing that place or setting in a simple journal-entry format. You may find that as you do so, a certain memory comes to mind and you think, “I’d forgotten all about that!”

Use that memory to introduce the second element of your story – people. Chances are, other people are involved in the memory you’ve just shaken loose. Take the time to carefully and in a detailed manner, write about the others who played a part in whatever made the place memorable that particular day, month, year – whatever. As you develop the “characters” in the situation, more and more aspects of why the place was originally important will most likely come forth.

With place and people established in your story, continue to create a picture of what is taking shape. Add in even the tiniest recollections to help your reader (or listener) personally relate to what you are sharing. Humans having experiences in common is, well, common. But remember that each person living the experience is unique and brings a unique perspective to the situation. What makes your remembrance unique? What does it have in common with those of others? Your picture will have both uniqueness and commonality.

As you develop the full picture, piece by piece, you will most likely see a problem developing among the people involved. Most impactful memories have some sort of dilemma, trauma, drama or other problematic aspect, which has planted them in our psyche. How does each person add to or take part in the problem? What part do you play? How did you feel?

Chances are (hopefully) the problem at hand in your remembrances progressed to the point of resolution – or at least neutrality. We work through things in life, right? How do the place, people, picture and problem of this moment in your life resolve, evolve or devolve so the story can move forward? Share that progression from your perspective, but also including its impact on all those involved as well.

Guess what? You’ve just written one chapter of your story. Next time, I’ll share some tools and tips to help you remember even more.


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