Memories: Good for the Soul

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and posted some writing prompts, but I’m hoping with the summer months upon me that I can get some more prompts posted and get back into the swing of blogging again. I’ve got a lot of good things going on, with my full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, coming soon from Chatter House Press, and more good poetry publication news coming soon.

Just this past Monday, my prose poem, “Sunday Drive” appeared at Flying Island…and since it’s a poem about a childhood memory, I thought this might be a good time to revisit some memories for writing. No matter how old we are (or young), we have memories of summers past, with the 4th of July fast approaching, of Independence Day’s past, or of how different America is from years past. We also have special memories of family, friends, pets, etc.

So, it’s good to be back…even with a brief intro – but with some new prompts! Let’s get started:

  1. In your daybook, write a memory from a specific time you, as a child, were in the car with your parents…where were you going? What was on the radio, tape deck, or CD? Who else was with you, or were you by yourself with them. What were the smells, sights, sounds, all around you? Once you have a few things jotted down, formulate your memory into a poem, prose or verse, an essay, or a story.
  2. Write a memory from a time you were in a classroom. It could be from your elementary years, junior high or high school years, or college. It could be that you were the teacher, or the student. It could even be from Sunday School. Again, think about who was there, what made this time stand out to you? Was it a humorous, sad, or scary time? Once you have exhausted the memory, see if it could make a good story or essay, maybe a 10 minute play or a poem…
  3. Write about your first kiss. Use all of the senses and just go until you can’t keep writing. When you look at what you’ve written, could you use that incident with a character you’re developing? Can you write a romantic story of some kind, or a poem?
  4. Use these words in what you write: Sunglasses, bonfire, walking, sour.

As always, if you get anything that you want to share – post it below or you can always contact me at lylanne@lylanne.com

Keep writing!

Lylanne

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to another Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week’s writing prompt is going to encompass something that has been a common thread through a lot of my poems – Nostalgia.

Some don’t like the idea of nostalgia because it may mean that you’re living in the past (or it may conjure up memories that hurt or depress). As a poet, I don’t find visiting the past a bad thing; in fact, there’s a lot of information about ourselves that we can learn by going back into our past – either by memories, old photographs, yearbooks, etc. there are just so many triggers. Of course, one of my favorite ways of visiting the past is listening to music from my childhood: The Beatles, The Supremes, Sonny and Cher, The Monkees or from high school: Elton John, Carly Simon, Carole King,  Alice Cooper, Chi-Lites, etc. I could go through all the decades after that, but I think I’ll just leave it at that. In actuality, any “oldies” song puts me right back in the place I was when the song was popular – for better or for worse. When those feelings are evoked that’s a good time to get the daybook and jot those feelings/memories/images down.

In the last year (I was a latecomer, but now I’m caught up) I’ve become a devoted fan of the TV series Mad Men. It is such a well-written show, with such interesting characters, but another reason I’m attracted to the show is all of the props from the 1960s. During that decade I experienced kindergarten – junior high, so all of the clothes, the cars, the furniture, the events, all evoke memories. Some that I’d forgotten about – for example, the “pedal pushers” that Betty wears early in the series – reminded me of my aunt when she was that age, and brought back memories of specific incidents that I was then able to write about.

Earlier this month The New York Times ran an article “What is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows,” and it shares of how nostalgia can actually be good for you. It also says that instead of making you feel depressed, “reminiscing” can make people “feel better.” I believe that to be true, and my writing shows it. So, this week’s prompt should make you feel better in many ways. Give yourself permission to reminisce, and while you’re at it get a good poem, essay, of flash fiction from the exercise. Here’s your fourth prompt:

“Waxing Nostalgic”

Choose one of these “nostalgia” inducing ideas and freewrite for 10-20 minutes. After you have written as much as you can, start shaping your poem, essay, or flash fiction. If you need to add more, revisit a specific from the idea you chose, or play a different song from the same time period as you write more.

A) Take your daybook and a pen/pencil to an antique store and browse through items there. You’ll discover old magazines, old postcards, and items that you will be surprised to “re-discover.”

B) Think of the decade/era you want to write about, play some songs from that time period nonstop as you write.

C) Go through old photographs, until you find one that speaks to you and you have to write about it then and there.

D) If you’re of a certain age, watch Mad Men; or a movie or a TV show from when you were a child. Write in your daybook anything that inspires you – it may be the clothes, the hairstyles, the jewelry – even an actor/actress or character.

As with all writing, it should be fun! 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!

Lylanne