Elements of the Writing Craft. Part One: Storytelling, Lesson Thirteen: Memory

Ref: Pages 19 and 20 of the text by Robert Olmstead

1. Write down a memory in loose phrases and words. Be as precise as you can about what you remember, but don’t worry about making good sentences. 

2. Begin: The way I always see (person, place, event) is the way (he/she/it) used to be… I always see (him/her/it) … (He’d/She’d/It’d) be … Maybe somebody’s … Maybe there’s …

3. In a few paragraphs, describe a memory in terms of another sense: hearing, smell, taste, touch.

The way I always see my Grandmother is the way she used to be. I always see her at the small table in her dingy yellow kitchen. She’d sit in the corner chair by the window doing her crossword and drinking her coffee. Maybe there’s a pot on the stove… maybe there are laughing voices coming from the porch.

The way I remember my Grandmother’s yard is the way it used to be. I will always remember the smell of gardenia and night-blooming jasmine and the spot under the avocado tree where Tootie was buried. Maybe there are fresh grass clippings on the old, red-brick porch. Maybe there’s the musty smell of old boxes and motor oil coming from the side door of the garage. 

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