It bums me out that I cannot remember much of my childhood. All I vaguely recall is that I had a damn good one.
I’m sure I’m not alone in my inability to remember people, places, and things from my formative years. I’m guessing there are more people like me out there than there are people with photographic memories.
Something I read recently in a book helped me resurface a mental moment in time from my junior high years.
I’m not sure what grade I was in, but I had to come up with a science fair project. I can only assume the volume of my bangs at the time had a direct influence on my idea to present the harmful depleting effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on the ozone layer that surrounds Earth.
I recall a key piece of my project that I wanted to include was a spinning globe surrounded by Reynold’s Rap. I imagined somehow fastening the rap around wire that measured a few inches larger in diameter than the globe itself in order to leave a space in between the globe and its imaginary ozone layer.
I convinced myself that this visual would seal the deal in terms of my project being deemed the best.
Only problem was the fact that my brain was not – and continues to not be – wired to think like an engineer. After I failed miserably at trying to secure the wire in the fashion I wanted around the globe, I gave up and ranted on and on to my parents through tear-filled eyes how much I hated science. (They would also hear that same speech about math in the coming years.)
Fairly confident I still got an “A” for that particular project due to an extremely well-crafted (read: anal) poster board. Yet, I am left wondering why that particular memory survived the test of time when so many others have slipped into the black hole known as my brain.
I think it stuck around because it was a time in my life when I failed to meet my own expectations. I was never subjected to intense pressure to succeed by my parents. I’ve actually written about their unconditional support before.
Fortunately for me, the majority of memories that survived from my childhood are positive and often involved receiving praise for a job well done.
I like to write. Always have and always will. Writing is not entirely effortless to me, but it’s the one creative outlet I have that doesn’t usually feel like work. Expressing myself through the written word is gratifying to say the least.
I have so much to learn from this craft. The cherry on top of continual practice is knowing I am capturing moments that I would have otherwise forgotten had they been left to forge for themselves in the black hole.
An excerpt from “On Writing” by Stephen King: Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no idea dump, no story central, no island of the buried best sellers. Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere – sailing at you right out of the empty sky. Two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the Sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas, but to recognize them when they show up.”
Created by Heidi Woodard
True story: I watched an interview with a young comedian — this was in the early 1980s. During the interview, the comedian in question was asked about comedy club life; the drugs and drinking, the carousing, etc. He responded by telling the interviewer that after his sets each night, he just went back to his hotel and wrote for one hour — one hour, no matter what. That was his discipline.
Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m watching TV one evening, an old episode of Seinfeld. THERE was that young comedian I have seen decades earlier, who had spoken about writing as a discipline.
That night, inspired by Seinfeld, I began writing daily. Mostly for my personal journal. Sometimes poetry, song lyrics, whatever. A few years later came the first incarnation of my blog — before “blogging” even existed.
Though exercise has been my drug of choice for most of my life, writing is what does it for me now. I write for at least an hour every day, and on the weekends sometimes for hours at a time.
Writing is the creative connection between me, and he who made me. I feel, at this point, it’s what I am here to do, even if I’m only read by dozens…
I’m getting to the point that I am just as excited to click the “publish” key to receive your insightful feedback as I am to get my thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. Thanks for that, Roy. Means a lot.
Sent from my iPhone
“Insightful feedback” Father spinning is grave, disrupted only by his snickering.
What also has helped me is that have followed the lives, not just the works of my favorite writers, David Foster Wallace and James Prosek to name a few. I have learned much about how to live from each of them, and how not to die by one.
I’m much further from being young than you are so i probably have even fewer memories of my youth than you, however, that being said, i have one memory that sticks in my head for eternity, probably because i’ve repeated it several times as an adult. My memory revolves around a gradeschool homework assignment. I assume we’ve all had word list that we have had to learn, and that was my assignment… i can’t tell you one other word on the list, but the two words that i had to make a sentence with was “Pet Peeve”. Being quite lazy i decided i didn’t need to look up the meaning and turned in my sentence reading: “Last night after supper i took my pet peeve for a walk”. I’m sure i must have gotten a bad grade on that assignment, but i swear i must have been an adult before i found out what a pet peeve is… I wonder how big a laugh my teacher must have gotten from that stupid sentence.
Ha! Terry! That is hilarious. Had I been your teacher, I would have had to correct you in order for you to know the proper meaning of the words pet peeve… But there is no way I would take away credit because your creativity points would cancel out your error.
I’m assuming you know this already, but in case you don’t, I’ll tell you. I used to write a lot and then I stopped. Your blog, Heidi, is what made me start writing again.
Now I can’t imagine not writing. Half of what I write never gets onto my blog. Heck, half of what I write never gets out of my head. I write a lot of posts in my head on my walks then by the time I have some sort of thought capturing implement at hand, something else has caught my attention and I forget I didn’t really “write” that post. I’m still working on the whole brain to keyboard connection thing.
I’m glad you have no intention to stop writing, because I always look forward to reading what you have to say.
What a truly amazing compliment. It makes me happy that I had something to do with you deciding to write again. It’s therapeutic really. Just like your walking, sleeping, eating, and laughing. We can vow to continually motivate one another!
Deal! I was working on a non-writing project tonight and starting to get sleepy. Then I remembered I hadn’t read your post yet, came here, read it, and got my second wind. Now I have half a post written…actually written on my laptop even, not just in my head!