1. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Skill development exercises

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LordKyleOfEarth, Apr 6, 2009.

    This thread exists as a means for forum members to practice a few exercises and hone our skills. I will be following the exercises in LaPlante's book "The making of the story", feel free to follow along. I will update the exercise once or twice a week, and in between exercises all participants are encouraged to discuss each other's posts (to see what does and does not work, what you liked/disliked, etc). It will be fairly relaxed in its structure, but please try to stay on topic.

    This week:
    Chapter one, what is creative writing?

    Exercise 1: "I don't know why I remember..."

    Goal: To pinpoint some previously unexplored material that remains 'hot' for you in some important emotional way.

    What to do:
    1. "Scan" over your life looking for a memory that is stuck in your mind, but for no obvious reason (no births, deaths, or other important moments; shoot for small ones)

    2. Render these moments precisely on the page using concrete details. Begin each one with "I don't know why I remember". Don't try to interpret the meaning of the memory, just put the reader "There".
     
  2. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know why I remember John's house. My brother and I spent many days there, playing in the fields with our friends. This one day in particular, we were standing in the side yard holding a piece of welding solder. The Fisher Price walkie-talkie precariously resting on the window sill as the heat of the South Texas sun beat down on our trio. We were trying to extend the range on our walkie-talkies and our middle-school logic was simple enough: bigger antenna equals longer range. We connected the antenna of the walkie-talkie to the large television antenna mast on the side of the house. The grass under our feet was dead and the dry sand of that drought stricken yard floated in lazy clouds around our feet. There was nothing out of the ordinary for us in our tinkering, just nerds being nerds. I remember the excitement and anticipation as we bent the wire to fit our needs; the act of creation, the moment of truth, the surprise in John's mother's voice as our modifications put the cordless phone and walkie-talkie on the same frequency. We were so surprised to hear a voice that was not ours. Sure the range was just as short, but somehow mistakenly discovering wireless phone tapping was better. We never got to play with walkie-talkies again.
     
  3. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    I don't know why I remember that particular day. I was maybe around 3. Don't recall anything much about that time, except for that particular day that seems to have been engraved in my memory. I remember walking out of the kitchen with a glass of water in hand. You'd be surprised to know that I don't remember walking inside the kitchen, it's just the return journey that I find thinking about again and again/. I walk into my mother's bedroom and hand over the glass to her. Then I remember trying to climb onto the bed. When I couldn't Mummy picks me up, and I crawl over to the bundle sleeping next to her. I remember saying "baini" for sister. I never really figured out why time aand again this particular memory keeps flashing back for me.
     
  4. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I don't know why I remember that day--it happened so many years ago. I was barely 10 years old, a scrawny kid playing around with my friends in my school's after-school program. I decided to sit down and rest after being so active and sat as I normally do, my legs sprawled. An eighth grader, Corey Edmenstein, walked up to me and smirked. I was very self-conscious and unsure as to why such a large, important person wanted my attention. The words that came out of his mouth astounded me--why did someone so much older than me think they had the right to tell me I sat inappropriately because my pose wasn't ladylike. I remember glaring at him and telling him that I'd sit however I liked because it didn't matter how I sat as men and women were equal and I felt, even at that tender age, like my equality was being violated. That's one of the very few memories I have of that boy and I can't help but feel guilty that the two of us never got along because a couple years later he died in a motorcycle accident. I guess guilt strengthens memories and makes you wonder, what if?
     
  5. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I don't know why I remember Jesus Joe as clearly as I do. I probably met him a couple of times, and we barely spoke at all. Jesus Joe wasn't his name, of course, it was what the boy who liked to think he was just like Jim Morrison called him, and the Jim Morrison-boy made my knees all watery, so I called him Jesus Joe too. He had a slow drawl, as if he questioned every word before he spoke them (now I'm imagining a cop wearing sunglasses in a dark room and sitting the word 'hey' down in a chair, shining bright interrogation lights at it while he chews on a matchstick and pauses for tension). This made the rest of the boys smirk, pass glances between each other and treat everything Joe said as a joke that only they were aware of.

    The second time I met him, he was angry. His words flew out too fast, excitedly (now I'm imagining the word 'hey' making a break for it, handcuffs flailing from one wrist, with a little piece of the arm from a wooden chair attached - 'hey' looks pretty jazzed, a little scared, too). Someone had stolen Joe's bible, and he was devastated. We were sitting in an abandoned house at night. It had no ceilings, and I was leaning against the remnants of a wall, looking up at the stars. It was cold, and I was wishing he would go away because his over-excited anger scared me a little.

    I pulled my school bag towards me (I was truant from the near-by Catholic high school, where I was a boarder. It was a common ruse for me to half-fill my school bag with clothes and say I was going to the laundry to do washing, then make my escape over the balcony. One of the girls would always leave a window open for me to climb back in).

    "Hey, Joe," I said. "I reckon I might have a bible in here." I searched through the contents of my bag and, sure enough, at the bottom of my bag was a bible, meant for study purposes. I don't remember ever opening it. I gave it to him and his mood changed swiftly. He was so happy and grateful, then he frowned.

    "I don't have anything to give you."

    "It's cool, dude. I don't want it, anyway." I tried to say it dismissively, I really was more interested in the Jim-Morrison boy, who was now staring at me with half a smile on his face.

    "Wait!" Joe said, "I do have something." He reached in to his pocket and pulled out a red plastic box. He held it out to me and urged me to take it, so I did. I flipped open the lid and saw that it was a battery operated alarm clock.

    "Cheers," I said, tossing it into my bag as I went back to stealing glances at the Jim-Morrison boy.


    **Sorry if it's a little long - and for the tangents (I can't help those :redface:) - just wrote it as I remembered stuff.
     
  6. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    Jesus Joe / Jim Morrison sounds like he could have been hot :) haha.

    I know why I remember this particular memory; it was the darkest night I had ever experienced and so it was really exciting; I dont know why I remember it in such detail - more detail than a lot more significant moments in my life.

    The night in question wasnt dark in a metaphorical sense, there had been a powercut across our full estate and to my five year old self, the density of the blackness which surrounded us was utterly unbelievable. My older sister Amy, six at the time, and younger sister Beth who must have been just two, were equally excited, and as for our golden retriever Toran - he clearly didnt know what to make of it, despite dogs apparantly having better sight in the dark than us mere humans.

    This must have been before my dad got his new job, as I remember he was like a child himself, and took his three daughters out in the back garden to take full advantage of this 'adventure opportunity' as he called it. I was a big Laura Ingalls - Wilder fan, and thought it would be an insight into the darkness that would have engulfed her every night in the Big Woods. Our 'Big Woods' was just our back garden, but at that point in time nothing could have matched my excitement; I was so excited I fell flat on my face for being in such a hurry I hadn't pulled my wellies on properly.

    Me and my sisters spent what seemed like an eternity running up and down the garden, something which wouldn't have entertained us for more than 20 minutes usually, but our interest in our garden had been switched on as soon as the lights had been switched off. We screamed and giggles as only young girls can, and laughed to the point of my little sister wetting herself. Toran was equally excited, tearing up and down the garden much to the disappointment of my mam the next day. We fell over, scraped our hands, grazed our knees - all with the biggest smiles on our faces. The darkness that night brought out our braveness, to be entirely honest we weren't the bravest of kids; sleeping with nightlights & crying when tripping in the playground. That night, I could have been Laura Ingalls Wilder herself, except a small garden in a terraced house instead of the 'Big Woods'; a golden retriever instead of wild bears, and my lovely cuddly Daddy instead of her gruff Pa.

    :) hadnt thought about that night in ages! xxx
     
  7. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    I don’t know why I remember that story which shook my dreams to pieces. How my brain came to the sudden conclusion that there was fear to be had. Maybe it was the current condition. I was isolated in a room of six by ten feet, on an island in the high arctic, and hadn’t seen the sun in close to five months.

    Little things bother you. Small scratches at the corners of your eyes that bring the head snapping around, body set to flee.

    I don’t believe in ghosts, or life ever-after. I’m scientifically minded of our worth in this universe. It is not ours as we lead to believe. So inside I knew the racing heart I felt had no reason to go beyond its normal running speed. Yet there it was, disappearing up my throat, forcing me to gulp too much air.

    It was about vampires of all things. A story about something that didn’t even exist, not as the book drew them in, at least. But whenever I closed my eyes, walked alone outside in the midnight of darkness. I felt those pages turning my imagination one by one, looking for an ending.

    I haven’t read that book since. I’m unsure why. A book is a story told, but that one, well it left a scar I’d soon not break open. I’ve bled enough fears.
     
  8. Moira
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    Moira Member

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    I don't know why I remember Brandi. She was a simple dog, one who passed away before I turned five. I didn't have any emotional attatchments to her, but I find that when someone says her name it brings back vivid memories of her cheerful bark. My mother has videos of us together playing in the front yard, rolling around in the grass. I don't remember that moment. When I think of her all I can see is a blur of golden fur. For some strange reason it warms me to the core, but I don't know why.
     
  9. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I don't know why I remember the garden that day. The summers seemed longer then, as if they lasted a whole year in themselves. The sun was warm on my back as I helped my grandmother tend to the tomatoes. I was carrying my bug catching pail - a small plastic container with tweezers and a magnifying top - looking for my next creature pet among the jungle of vines and trelass. That's when I saw it; the biggest, juiciest, creepiest bug I'd ever seen in my life. It was fat, and round, and green. On it's head sat a large curved horn as big as my thumb! Okay, so maybe that's an exagerration, but I was five, afterall.

    I ran screaming to the edge of the garden, my grandmother poking her head up from the vines to see what the problem was. Almost in hysterics, I yelled for her to run, to save herself. After a moment of confusion, she followed the direction of my finger. That's when the laughter began. "It's just a tomato bug, Pumpkin."

    Needless to say, I've never been able to eat a tomato without fear of biting into one of those squishy devils.
     
  10. Moira
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    Moira Member

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    That was very good. I really loved the discription you used about the bug catching pail. You know when you read something and the top of your brain gets fuzzy because it really likes it? That's how I felt when I was reading. :D
     
  11. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Wow, thank you! :D

    I can't say I know what you mean about the top of your head getting fuzzy, but my stomach gets tingley when I read something I really enjoy...haha
     
  12. Moira
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    Moira Member

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    Stomach tingling, yeah I never get that... uh-oh I think I came up with a new thread!
     
  13. Moira
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    Moira Member

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    New Thread soon to be in The Lounge...
     

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