"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, April 22, 2013

A-Z Challenge: The Downhill

We're on the downhill now with the A-Z. Right? Yes? Do I hear an AMEN?

I am still over at The Ruralhood until the end of April. Come see me -- ok? But first...
 
While I have you here, I wanted to talk a little about the process on writing my memories for the A-Z Challenge at The Ruralhood. As I’ve mentioned before, because I want to draw the reader into my world, I am writing my posts in story format. The memories are how I remember them, but I do add details from the period if I can't remember some of the exacts -- and only if I know this would have been a part of my life.

For instance, while hanging out at the creek, was there a frog that actually jumped in the creek that day? Did it happen that day at that moment? I don’t know if it did, but every time I was at the creek, frogs jumped in and snakes slithered by in the water. On one occasion, while I sat with my feet in the creek I poked a frog (alongside) with my toes. When it didn't move I thought it was dead, then it jumped into the water.  So I put in my creek post a frog. That particular day, while I was waiting for my grandma to get back home, a dead branch did fall from the tree and scared the heebie jeebies out of me. I didn't add that to my story because I wanted the reader to feel "the place" and not my feel my fear.
 
How do I remember my makeup and perfume? Easy. Makeup meant a lot to me at the time (probably more so now :) and I didn’t have as many choices as I do today. I used Avon foundation (Fawn tone) for a number of years. Not only that, I photographed some of my makeup for a class assignment – the foundation (I think) is in the photo. I only used Heaven Scent fragrance for a short time because my friend “Hattie” used it. I remember my moods vividly because they were associated with my “monthly” and (I feel now) often disrupted how I thought and reacted to life's situations. (You didn't want to hear about my monthly? What about Aunt Flo?)
 
I have a friend who has been reading my posts and she asked me how I remembered the details. Some things are just in my brain, but others I had to brain -- storm. When I want to write about place, I start thinking about that place and write down everything I can remember and like a good writer I use my senses.

Some memories will surface if you think on them long enough.
 
For instance, a heart shaped stain on my uniform, really?  Other's may not have thought it looked like a heart. I remember it as a part of a bad day that turned good.  The fishermen changed it for the better. They were a great group of men who adopted me, if even for a short time. Some of the men said  that I reminded them of their daughter or that I was their daughter’s age. Oh and they made me work for that tip if not through conversation then through service. What about the fishermen, were there ten? I don’t know if there were exactly ten, but this is how I came up with the number. We pushed tables together and in my mind I see ten men. I needed a number and ten made sense -- to me. I also considered the big tips that were left behind. BTW, one of them left me a twenty dollar bill. That may have been more money than their meal had cost, I don't remember. I was so shocked (and flattered) that someone would leave me that much money.

I'm a good tipper, in case you want to know.
 
Too much thinking? Tell me about it, but I had to remember the memories. 
 
Lastly, my friend shared that she doesn’t remember her youth in detail. So I asked her some questions about her sixteenth year --  because I think an easier year to remember for most. School. Friends. Place. I don’t know if she agrees with me or not, but as she talked about that time in her life, she produced memories. I also saw her eyes change at times, perhaps memories she was not sharing with me? Only she knows.
 
She got me thinking.

Pulling the amount of memories from my brain for this challenge has been exhausting and quite emotional at times. But, you know what? My daughter said she is happy that I'm writing these posts. They give her a glimpse of me -- then. And also, she's relating to some of it like the feeling that working was robbing her of her free time. The only thing with something like this is that she couldn't read one or two.  It was too difficult for her to read so she didn't. Those particular memories were difficult for me to put together and believe me I've left out stuff.
 
In the months to come, I thought it would be beneficial and fun to post on Mondays or Wednesdays or both (at Journaling Woman) my thoughts  on each post that I wrote for the A-Z challenge: The Waiting Summer. So come back and see what I have to say.

What do you think?  Are you coasting downhill? Did you say enough is enough and quit? I don't blame you! At least you had the guts to say it. :)

 

17 comments:

  1. I think it's wonderful that you're remembering and recording these stories. I bet your daughter really does, too!

    And my memory is awful with this stuff, but I think I could dredge up some memories using your method. Love the way you're thinking through it to stir up long-buried memories.

    I'm starting to journal again regularly using a free program I read about called https://ohlife.com/ . The cool thing is that it emails you every day (at whatever time you tell it to), to ask how your day went. You email it back to have it recorded privately. I'm hoping this is going to help me keep track of memories during this busy stretch of my life, moving forward. :)

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    1. Love the journaling. I will check out the site. As I've said before, I think it's important to record our life. So important for our descendants.

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  2. Yeah great way to keep a journal of sorts indeed. That way many down the road can read.

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  3. You are a memoirist. I was wondering where you were going with the selective memory explanation. I wonder what the memoir instructors say about that. It seems logical to use a jumping toad in a convenient place and to leave out distracting details. You're doing great. Thank you for writing your story for us to read. And, yes, we need to record our lives so we can sort through them ourselves and for our children and others who love us so that they truly know us and can see us in more ways.

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  4. I don't think I could remember even half of what you do. I don't even remember what I ate for dinner two nights ago.

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  5. Remembering is good, recording even better. Leaving a legacy.

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  6. I think it is interesting that you noticed that your friend's eyes changed. ;-)

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  7. I've been enjoying your memories over at the Ruralhood! I haven't commented on every single one, but I have read them. Your writing is really wonderful, Teresa!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  8. Often when we go back to times we hold important, there are so many other thoughts those memories trigger. I think you're right, your friend was recalling things, but keeping them inside.

    I'm on the downhill. Too late to stop now even though I have a lot of reasons I should. Love your idea for your summer posts. Look forward to them.

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  9. Yeah, I'm weary of the whole thing. I get tired about 2 weeks in! But I finish! it's a good challenge, for sure, but I'm glad it's only once a year. :-)
    from The Dugout

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  10. Hi Teresa .. you're doing such a great job with the Ruralhood posts - I'm certainly feeling that I'm there with you .. experiencing the sitting by the river waiting with the trees, dappled sunshine, I guess some murky pools, wildlife - hadn't thought about the water snakes though! Burnt, beige, golden grasses, green or yellowing leaves ... twigs etc ..

    I'm so pleased your daughter is appreciating the stories, even if one or two are tricky ... you both know more of your back story than we do (understandably) ..

    I certainly feel I'm travelling time with you in your Ruralhood of youth ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  11. Isn't great to have memories to draw on at all :) heading over to your rural posts now :)

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  12. Keeping a journal is always a good way to remember stories.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  13. Hi Y'all,

    Enjoyed your post...memories...yes, that's all we have in the end...best to make them good ones.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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  14. hey teresa!! it's amazing the smells you remember and the sights that linger longer with it. that happens everytime i'm around farm or horses...weird.

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  15. it's great to have beautiful memories, teresa.
    can't wait for your summer posts.

    have a great friday~


    p.s. i linked to you today!

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  16. I loved this behind-the-scenes peek. Looking forward to seeing more peeks during the summer!

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