Writing The Arrangement and The Begonia Bribe

There is big news over at Confession's of a Watery TartThe Begonia Bribe by Hart Johnson a.k.a. Alyse Carlson was released yesterday. She is touring at Jessica Bell's Blog today and Alex Cavanaugh tomorrow. Be sure to go pick up a copy of Begonia Bribe here.

Now, on to writing The Arrangement

In the weeks to come, I will talk about my posts for The A-Z Challenge that I titled The Waiting Summer.   Trying to come up with 26 memories for one summer was, well, challenging, but the A-Z was about challenge, after all.
I chose the summer of my seventeenth year because I held down my first real job and it was a time of transition. Sometimes I felt like I was waiting forever on people and life to happen and other times my waiting was in the blink of an eye.
Someone had asked me how I remembered the details or even the memories themselves, when they couldn’t. I think I have a terrible memory, but only for short term stuff and names. And, it may help that I am a detail person. However, I think everyone can summon memories if you try.  
I stimulated my memory “squirrels” by
  •   Looking at lots of photos.
  •   Thinking about my friends.
  •   Asking my mom things.
  •   Asking my sister things.
  •   And just old fashioned brainstorming.
I actually drew a circle on a piece of paper wrote the summer of 1973 and drew lines out from that labeling them with the people I knew or met and events as I remembered happened. I thought about the makeup and clothes I wore and my troublesome hair. 
The Arrangement was the easiest to write. I wanted to work a real job for the summer. I wanted to work in a town twenty miles away waiting tables. Both my parents worked so I knew my dad believed in working, but would he let me drive so far every time I needed to go to work?   I don’t’ remember how long I pondered telling him my plan, but I remember the evening I did it. I remember how I felt. I also knew what our family dinners looked like at the time.
Things that stand out for me regarding that story:
  • We ate meals together. I took that tradition with me to my family.
Things I didn’t tell you:
  • How it seemed like it took forever for my dad to get home from work that day.
  • At that time in my life, I felt restless and head strong.
  • I felt like I knew best and all adults knew nothing.  
  • I realized after I wrote The Arrangement  that the coupon selling job was during my senior year not the summer before as I thought. No biggy.
  • It was at times emotional for me. We’ll talk about that later.
From the Comments:
  • I enjoyed that I reminded you of days past – your first job, maybe your family. That’s what chronicling your life is about.
  • My one summer babysitting job consisted of the lady dropping off her daughter, who was my sister’s best friend, me sleeping in, my sister playing with the little girl all day while I collected two bucks for my work, plus all the Merle Norman makeup I wanted.  It was a win win situation. Right? And no I didn’t share my earnings with my sister.
(I apologize for the funky formatting. I couldn't get it to straighten up and fly right.)
Can you remember details about a particular summer of your youth? Are you sharing stories with your children of your childhood? Are you listening when your parents tell about theirs? What was your first job?


Pat Hatt said…
I can remember much too here at my zoo but not sharing with your sister, geez, how mean lol
I would really have to rack my brain to remember the details you remembered. I think my first job was at a car wash. I lasted a whole week.
My first job was working at Sears. Prior to that, I just helped dad on the farm. I love how you associate pictures with memories. That's how Hannibal Lecter did it too in the books written by Thomas Harris.
Hart Johnson said…
Thank you so much for the shout out about Begonia Bribe!

And your arrangement was fabulous, but YES, a huge organizational undertaking, I think! Definitely seemed worth it, though. Nice to have a cohesive collection at the end of it.
Lynn Proctor said…
like i told you before--i really loved and enjoyed your challenge posts--and would like to hear more :)
Misha Gerrick said…
Mmm... I don't think I ever tried to write down any of my memories. Maybe I should, though.
Mary Aalgaard said…
I suppose, technically, my first job was to play piano for the early morning church service at Bethany Lutheran Church. I think I got $25 for playing. I was 13 when I started playing for church. It was a little country church, a great place to jump on the bench and start a career!
Kristin said…
I write a lot of my memories of my youth on my blog. Photographs also remind me of things and once I start writing many other memories come in. I didn't find your blog until the end but I went back and read it. Once I was going to do NaNoWriMo about the several years - 1966 - 1970. It was emotionally draining and I had to give it up. I still write about that time but in smaller bites. Cannot become immersed.
John Wiswell said…
Your notion of "memory squirrels" made me smile. And honestly, most of my favorite Summer memories are of playing videogames and staying up too late to watch awful movies. Those things my parents thought were awful distractions are such sources of relief these days.
Unknown said…
We used the same exercise in college English classes and I find it very useful. I like it better than the traditional outlines.

Someimes family has to jar my memory too then it all comes flooding back.
Unknown said…
oops sorry bout the missing "t" - my keys are beginnning to stick, and I have problems with bloggers formatting too sometimes.

Popular Posts