Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Boy, 2014 sure has made itself known hasn’t it? No matter where you are in the U.S. you’ve been affected by the Polar Vortex, or at least you’ve heard about it on the national news or weather reports. Here in Toledo, OH, we ended up with another 10-13″ of snow (depending on where in Toledo you live), and had wind chills reach 45 below zero – pretty brutal for not even being a week into January before this stuff started, and that snow count isn’t including the 11.3″ we accumulated on New Year’s Day.
Snow as of January 6, 2014
I do have to say that as bad as this winter storm was it was nothing compared to the Blizzard of 1978. I was living in Indiana, a young mom (21) with a nine month old baby, and my then husband, Bill, who owned a 1969 Corvette that he adored. I have plenty of memories of that blizzard, but one that always sticks out in my mind is that the drifts were up and over the Corvette in the drive and the coveted car wasn’t visible. Some neighbor kids, about a week after the snowstorm, were out walking through the snow looking for places to shovel…and I had to yell at them – as they were walking on top of the prized Corvette…something they weren’t aware of. Needless to say, there was a lot of snow and a lot of drifts.
I also remember some super cold winters, with a lot of snow; actually, the year before the blizzard in 1977, there were some constant snows and a string of sub-zero temperatures…and that was not including wind chill factors! I especially remember getting stuck in a snow drift in our 4-wheel drive on a country road while going home from my mom and dad’s house after Sunday dinner. I was eight months pregnant and couldn’t get my coat zipped around my stomach. We had our dog, Smoky, with us and Bill had to walk about a mile down the road to a farm house to call his dad and brothers to come pull us out. While he was gone, the winds were howling, the windshield started forming ice, and all I could think of was the recent murders that had taken place in Hollandsburg. When Bill finally made it back to our vehicle we had to walk back to that farm house to wait for help to arrive, carrying Smoky, and no way for me to really bundle up. It’s a wonder all three of us didn’t end up with frostbite.
As I retell these memories I realize my need to write about them in more detail – the sights, the sounds, the feelings, and I bet as you read about this period of time (and if you’re of a certain age), you will have relatable tales. If you’re a lot younger, perhaps this latest cold snap will give you stories to tell or poems to write too. So for your twenty-eighth prompt:
“A Blizzard of Memories”
1) In your daybook write down some of your memories of a major snow storm, frigid cold, ice storms, wind chills, power outages, or anything associated with winter weather. It could be the Blizzard of ’78, getting stuck in a snow drift, being without power for days, something from this recent “Polar Vortex” outbreak, or not being able to get home from work…your memories may generate more ideas. Just as I’m writing this, I’m remembering other winter weather “incidents” from my life.
2) Take one of your memories and really hone in on it – like I said, get your senses involved. What did you see, feel, hear, smell, and/or even taste during that time? Write about that for at least 10 minutes or until you exhaust the memory.
3) Now take your writing and decide if it fits best into a poem, a memoir/essay, or would it lend itself to an interesting piece of fiction or a play based on your real-life events? Once you decide that aspect, take your time and get that story, poem, memoir, or play written!
4) As always, once you have “finished” your writing, remember to revise, revise, and then revise again…that’s the real craft of writing! It’s your talent and your tenacity that makes the writing yours, so make sure you have your best word choices and have every detail included so your audience connects with your piece of writing.
As with all writing, this “A Blizzard of Memories” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!