9.19.2016

Old Friend from Far Away...

I'm reading a book on memoir writing... it wasn't what I thought it would be. It is basically over 100 in-depth writing props that I have slowly been trying to make my way through. I force myself to do all of them even if they include topics such as coffee which I absolutely have nothing to contribute on the subject. Usually they are hastily scribbled in my shabby 3-ring notebook never to see the light of a reader's eyes (unless my snoopy sister Jaci happens upon them after my death). But today I am trying hard to be good and put my feet up for a few minutes (due to a reoccurring foot injury that needs to go away so I can move on with my life... I have no patience for pain). 

So for your reading enjoyment today's writing exercises are going to be spilled out here - 

Prompt #1:
I had never heard the word memoir until after I read one and I was like, "What genre was that? That was fantastic!" I had never wanted to write a memoir until after I had an experience that was so large that it could not be contained inside me. The first time I knew memoir had to be the book I had to write was after reading "An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination." The book changed my life - I know people say that all the time but it truly did. I did not know my role in how I should mourn Talmage but the book helped me understand that there is no role and no rules - just grief and the only way you learn how to do it is by doing it. To read something so real at a time when everything felt surreal was like finally being able to breath through a snorkel instead of a semi-submerged straw. I sucked in the life-giving air and knew I needed to put my story to paper. 

I know I need to write a memoir every time I celebrate the convoluted dates of my sons' death and my sons' birth. The memories of those three days haunt me. Every year, I spend the first half of January with them clinging to me as they pull me back into the fog that surrounded that time of my life. Remembering is all I have and I want it written into neat little paragraphs so that even I can see them from a safer distance.

I know I need to write a memoir every time I have to explain the genre to people. No... memoirs are not autobiographies. In fact every memoir that starts with someone recounting the facts about their childhood, I have hated. I would never feel compelled or vain enough to think that an autobiography should be written about me or anyone else for that matter. There is no desire in me to hear the whats and whens and wheres of life - what I need is the whos and the whys that dealt with the complexities that come with living. Memoirs give life to our desperate messy memories and I want that - I want to write that and I want to read that.

Prompt #2:
Bikes. Ugh - I hate them. I was 8. My brother and I were riding our bikes to school for the first time. Something was causing my bike to make a clicking sound (even at a young age the OCD in me could not handle it). I noticed that when I kicked my front wheel it would stop. So that was how I proceeded to school. CLICK... CLICK...CLICK... KICK... silence. But the noise always started back up. I was growing increasingly impatient with this so I decided I was really going to show that front tire who was boss. This decision was poorly timed as it formed in my brain at the same moment that I began my decent down the largest hill on 99th Street. I kicked, missed my rim, lodged my foot in my front spokes and immediately stopped all forward motion of my bike. What resulted was a front flip over the handlebars, my teeth not clearing them and getting chipped in route, strait onto my rear with both elbows skidding down for some gnarly road rash. I sat there in the middle of the road, alternately looking at my brother who proceeded to school unfazed by his screeching little sister and my bike, trying to determine which one I felt more betrayed by.

Prompt #3:
You asked about coffee and I could tell you nothing.

You now ask about ice cream and I could tell you everything.

 I could tell you that you should never let it melt then refreeze in the carton. I could tell you to not be deceived by the cheap containers marked Frozen Dairy Dessert. I could tell you homemade should always be eaten fresh - the whole canister - no matter the willpower it might take. I could tell you that vanilla must be served with hot cookies, chocolate cake, or warm brownies. I could tell you chocolate never gets old as long as you have a banana and crushed waffle cone pieces to add to it. I could tell you first dates, and first anniversaries, and first time peeing in the potty all call for it (But also ordinary Tuesdays as well). I could tell you homemade hot fudge should always be blended before use. I could tell you whipped cream on ice cream makes everyday ice cream seem fancy... also sprinkles... crushed cookies... and sugar cones (please never cake cones). I could tell you the best way to use birthday B1G1 coupons at Coldstone is to get the Gotta Have It sizes and ask for 4 extra bowls and spoons. I could tell you ice crystals form in the carton if not eaten fast enough so please eat it fast enough.  I could tell you that Tillamook is the best.I could tell you ice cream cakes are suitable stand-alone Valentine's Days presents. I could tell you cup+ice cream+milk+stirred=instant milkshake. I could tell you milkshakes are the most underrated beverage out there. I could tell you that if the aid station at mile 22 was handing out milkshakes at marathons, I would run more marathons. I could tell you nuts should never be allowed into the flavors... also peanut butter... raisins... and bubble gum. I could tell you that every 70+ male entering Baskin Robbins will order Butter Pecan and every 70+ female Pistachio. I could tell you that there was once a time you could buy half gallons at Smiths for 10/$10 and Blake and I would buy 20 at a time. I could tell you kids will always ask you to pre-mix it and if you don't than they will use their saliva to help facilitate the process. I could tell you soft serve and fro-yo, while having a few redeeming qualities, will never be on the same caliber as hand-scooped. I could tell you being pregnant and unable to locate a "real ice cream shop" is cause for tears. I could tell you eating over 2 quarts in one sitting will significantly lower your body temperature. I could tell you mint chocolate chip will always be deemed the most refreshing. I could tell you...

Prompt #4:
I remember my mom in the car. We were always driving somewhere. For you see, I was the youngest of eight children and that equates to being taken all sorts of places not suitable for young children. Our car was often silent. Well, we were not silent, but the car was. No radio ever and I always wondered why that was. I also wondered why when the older kids were finally dropped off that mom was silent. She had this look of "Don't talk to me." So I didn't.  The other day, I sat at a traffic light in my silent but not silent vehicle and caught a glimpse of my face in the rearview mirror... I looked just like her.

Prompt #5:
Tell me what you will miss when you die: Blake

3 comments:

connie said...

Another article to publish. I am not an ice cream lover but I want some now. This needs to be published for national ice cream day or some thing like that. I love everything you write like i love you. You will write a memoir someday and more than one I am sure but the amazing work you are doing today so your amazing memoirs of tomorrow. I am so proud to be your mother.

connie said...

Another article to publish. I am not an ice cream lover but I want some now. This needs to be published for national ice cream day or some thing like that. I love everything you write like i love you. You will write a memoir someday and more than one I am sure but the amazing work you are doing today so your amazing memoirs of tomorrow. I am so proud to be your mother.

Chadwick and Julie said...

I would consider your blog something of a memoir...your deep thoughts, joys, sadness and moments of whos and whats and hows.

I might be wrong.