About 10 days ago I attended a workshop with Barry Dempster who is Writer-in-Residence at the Richmond Hill Library. At the end of a rich session on Telling the Truth, he gave us an assignment which I’ve been grappling with. Here it is:
Write a piece of memoir, prose or poetry, using all of the following pieces of detail:
1. A lover you had but didn’t marry
2. A moment when something happened but you didn’t get to experience it to the extent you wished you had
3. Something you’re afraid of, in retrospect. Did I really do that?
4. One thing that you’ve lost that you never got over
5. Your favourite movie of all time
6. Your favourite smell
7. The first time…..
At first I just brainstormed about each of the points, and then I began to see how the points connected for some of the people I’d identified in #1. Then I began to write about one person.
As I wrote, I realized I was writing about an unidentified Turning Point in my life and about someone who had left a significant imprint. I’d never forgotten this person, but until I began to write, I had not recognized their impact on my development.
The challenge of fitting all 7 points into one story was not easy but somehow they came together as I wrote. I’m not sure where this story will fit into my memoir but I can see that these 7 details were not selected randomly by this master of words and detail. Thank you, Barry!