I’m reading On writing by Stephen King at the moment, a book brought forward from my wish list in preparation for Eric Maisels online memoir writing course.
It starts with childhood memories, something Anne Lamott writes about in Bird by Bird – write about your childhood.
It’s a useful prompt, only thing is I can’t remember much to write about. Nothing happened, no deaths or trauma I can recall. Maybe it’s a brain thing, that part of the memory in my brain isn’t as highlighted as some others.
I can remember bits and pieces but they’re not what I’d describe as ‘moving picture memories’ ones that I can play back. They are stationary, stories I have told before being brought up again. I remember things like my Nana taking me on mornings out shopping for dresses, getting my ears pierced and buying custard tarts. And little things like playing with wooden toys with beads to thread across a metal line while waiting for my mum at the bank.
As I’m reading the book I’m remembering more, like how my Dad would spell out T I R E D while in the back of the car as kids listening to the music they liked – The Carpenters.
A fun memory was brought up the other day, as the small people in our family give me little nudges. Maybe that’s what it will take to unlock memories in my mind.
Through talking about children’s swimming lessons I remembered my own. Not the lessons exactly though I’m grateful I learnt young because I’m a natural now. Learning to swim when your brain is still developing is a huge bonus to consider when parenting, like learning to drive young too when muscle memory is still developing. I love swimming even now, it’s a strength.
Anyway the memories I have (my dad can’t remember) is of me being small in the pool, maybe about 5. My dad would (somehow) pick me up in the water and say ‘Ready?’ And I’d say ‘Yeah!’ Then he would throw me across the pool as many times as I asked. It was fun, I remember laughing and if I knew what joy was back then I’d call it that too.
Another time, with the same kind of theme, is where my dad would lay down and balance his feet on my stomach and I would stretch my arms out while holding his. I was flying! I think I carried on that fun flying experience with my two younger brothers too.
I like to think (other than instant amusement) the deeper meaning of that play was to teach themes of flying and soaring in life.