Writing What You Know
By Annette Rey
Your private memories reveal a different kind of truth separate from actual facts. The wallpaper you contemplated as you fell asleep as a child, counting the flowers or countryside images, took on a different reality than what the manufacturers intended.
As you imagined stories from those patterns, new worlds were created, dreams were inspired, your creative mind worked as you slept. Without you being aware, your memories were influenced by your environment.
So write about what you know, what you know as the truth at that time in your life.
Write a short story based on one isolated memory. Don’t give thought to whether your audience will think this memory is worth their time. What matters is it is worth your time.
Here is a seed from my past.
From various holes in the flooring in different parts of the shot-gun dwelling (one at the base of the kitchen wall where household litter collected, one in the hallway-coverted-to-closet space, and there were others), I could spy the basement netherlands from a god-like view. Pressing one eye against each jagged opening, earthy odors and a sense of cool wafted from the deep-stone-dug depths.
I imagined overhearing secret conversations of passersby, and lords and ladies, and criminals alike. Their clothing bespoke their stations in life, and what they said sent titillating chills through my tiny torso. Their laughter and whispers and embraces and dancings and evil plottings occupied the otherwise mundane and dreary parts of my days.
Later, having descended the rickety wooden steps on a journey to the deep, the view from below to the holes above made the magic disappear. I saw only the deteriorated condition of the hovel in which I lived.
And romance died.
This is a story about holes in a floor. On the face of it, would that be an interesting subject about which to write? Would anyone care to read about holes?
Take a lesson from this. It’s how you write about your mental photograph that makes it worth reading.
Write about what you know and the emotion of that time will fill itself in for you.
I can control the emotion on which to end. I could continue and say:
But hope prevailed.
And I once again spied from above the heads of my unaware sojourners and drifted into the alter-world of my making, devoid of crumbling buildings and shattered dreams.
Write on, my lovelies.
Your stories are worth telling.