While I’m not a memoirist, I do draw heavily upon experience to create story ideas. Memories often lead me to reflect.
For instance, my novel “Miracle of Ducks,” is based on my experiences of sharing a life with a former Army Ranger and his obsession with German Short-haired Pointers. Fictionalizing those experiences allows me to explore the realm of “what if…”
Right away I was drawn to Lisa’s challenge. I believe in the power of prompts to spark creativity; the magic of constraints to improve writing; and the joy of practicing craft with other writers. It’s like musicians who gather and just jam.
After reflecting on Lisa’s first prompt, I realized what a tumultuous time age seven was for me. I hardly remember school that year, but I have one vivid memory related to seven and school. What follows is what I mined from that memory for “Bite Size Memoir No. 1.”
School at Seven by Charli Mills
Morning, and it’s the last day of school at Sunnyslope. Not for the year. Just for me. My parents bought a store and a pink house near Lake Tahoe.
Mrs. Vineyard says I can build snowmen at recess where I’m going. It doesn’t snow in Hollister where apricots grow, planted by great-grandpa Bumpa who lives at the place smelling like hospitals.
I like Bumpa and bingo and horses. Not doctors.
Papa, drives slowly down the steep hill overlooking turkey barns and old scrap. We don’t talk about the other grandfather or why my parents are moving. It feels like it’s my fault, and misery squats on my shoulders the way blackbirds roost in eucalyptus trees. Papa stops the car. He leans over and offers me a choice of three candies. Big bars of chocolate. I choose the Baby Ruth.
Seven was not a sweet year, but I remember that clemency.
(Look for new prompts on Fridays at Sharing the Story, and follow along on Twitter at #BiteSizeMemoir.)