Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Remember series...and giveaway

I received a recommendation for Writing Down The Bones~Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg last year and promptly purchased it and it was read in a week. I did many of her prompts in the book and they opened up so many new thoughts to me. Very fun, and exciting, to write about something you feel deeply about but didn't even know you felt that way until someone encourages you to write about it. (Something I'm sure all writers try to help others experience)~ If you haven't read this amazing book, you should definitely, run out and get it! Right now!! Run!

Goldberg's WDTB has a chapter entitled: A List of Topics for Writing Practice. Goldberg says, "Sometimes we sit down to write and can't think of anything to write about. The blank page can be intimidating, and it does get boring to write over and over again for ten minutes of practice, 'I can't think of what to say. I can't think of what to say.' It's a good idea to have a page in your notebook where you jot down, as they come to you, ideas of topics to write about."
She goes on to give you some prompts to get you started. One in particular caught my eye and sparked my imagination. It was this:
(pg 22 WDTB Goldberg)
'Begin with "I remember." Write lots of small memories. If you fall into one large memory, write that. Just keep going...If you get stuck, just repeat the phrase "I remember" again and keep going.'
I began to think about this lately and revisited it in one of my blog posts. I've got so many more that I have already written. I will go back to those "just keep writing" entries in my notebook and edit/adjust so that I can continue my I Remember posts. Who knows how many will come of it. Writing then is very freeing and at times wonderful! Some of the memories are welcomed and others of course take you to a dark place. Either way it's a freeing experience.

I thought in particular of, what I think would be a really fun and exciting way to bring others into this series with me. This is what I propose:

I will give away a copy of Writing Down The Bones~Freeing The Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg to the person who writes the most thought provoking, touching, memorable "I remember" essay...lets say no more than 500-600 words. The deadline will be September 1, 2009 and I will announce the winner (possibly 2-3 winners, depending on the responses) by September 15, 2009.

Here's how you submit: just post your essay as a comment to this post.
I'm so excited!!! Okay, so what do you guys think? Anyone up for it? It should be lots of fun and a chance to get your juices flowing when you're stuck.

Happy Writing!


  1. I remember when all I wanted to be was a mother. I grew tired of each month passing by with no signs of a new life. My husband and I finally visited my doctor, endured countless tests and listened to his pronouncement, “Buy a dog and relax.”
    Three months later, the phone rang. The words I’d waited twenty nine years to hear came. “You’re pregnant.”
    I wanted to be the best mother ever. I sang my new daughter songs, rocked her to sleep at night and plied her with toys and games. My heart swelled with love for her when she called out to me or grasped my hand on the first day of kindergarten.
    She grew from a curly haired angel into a beautiful young woman who could throw a softball further than I could walk without becoming winded.
    I loved motherhood more than anything else I did; more than my career as a counselor or bookstore owner. I had found heaven on earth.
    But then Mother’s Day 2006 arrived. Together, my husband and I watched our daughter walk down the aisle and put her faith into some young man’s hand. Two hours later, she moved across the country, reducing our relationship to phone calls and semi-annual visits.
    Motherhood changed. I clung to the memories of my lost duties.
    But on a cool morning a year later, she called me—in tears. “Mom? I’m pregnant. I planned to wait but didn’t. Are you mad?”
    All I ever wanted to be was a mother, that is, until I became a grandmother.

  2. I remember her, the woman who thrust me into the world. I remember her tall, lanky pose. I remember the pop her fingers would make when the radio played her favorite tune. I remember the mix of her scents --- Chanel No. 5, collard greens, fried chicken. I remember the touch of her hands, ever so slight, as she let me know I was loved like no other. And I remember the lilt in her voice, when she called my name.

  3. I remember remembering as a child, expecting age to change me into the magic of adulthood. Remember my parent's bedroom window above the headboard of their queen-size bed, sitting on the huge pillows as night took over from the day and wishing, always wishing on a star. Later, I found out her name was Venus.

    (Lydia, I love this idea and had to write. Thank you. But please, don't consider this an entry. I already have the book ;) )

  4. Thank you to the three (evf, honeysmoke, and Terri Tiffany) I Remember comments left on here thus far. This is really great and I'm so happy to have others enjoying it.

    Keep remembering and sharing those memories! :)

  5. Flames shot out like serpents’ tongues, licking the ankles of young bike riders. In fear, they veered far to the left—had a car been coming, it would have hit them dead on. This time, their instincts saved all but some of that blonde peach-fuzz that we boys all proudly considered leg hair. The stench of it burnt hung in the air, invading the odor of our sewer playground.
    Bryan jumped down from the drainage opening and shook his can of hairspray. His giggle sounded maniacal, but I was eight. Evil is so hard to distinguish in a cloak of fun.
    “They barely dodged it in time!” he laughed. “Just think if I had gotten his shorts!”
    No children drove by for another ten minutes, so Bryan and I left the sewer, headed towards one of our homes. He lead me, three years older and naturally the alpha between us. Our houses sat across the street diagonally from each other, so I never knew which we’d play in until we got there.
    “Would you like to see Sally, my new snake?” he asked.
    “Another snake!” I gasped. “Sure, show me.”
    We walked through his front doors and past his two older, leering brothers. They stretched lazily over the arms of furniture, resting their sneakers on end tables. Bryan took no notice of them, but my mother sure would have.
    We entered his room together, and the smell of many reptiles assaulted my nose. I thought it odd that the smell of Bryan’s bedroom was indistinct from the sewer we had played in earlier.
    But immediately my attention fell onto a cage on the floor ten times larger at least than the next largest cage. The snake inside, which must have been Sally, slept; she must have been five feet long. I gawked, standing there in slack-jawed surprise.
    “Beautiful, isn’t she?” he asked. He reached down into the cage (which had been open, without a roof) and grabbed Sally tenderly with both hands. As he raised her from the cage, the slits of her eyes opened subtly. I became afraid.
    Bryan draped Sally like a shawl around his neck and stroked her tenderly. I had never seen such affection light his features.
    “I feed her mice, small little lab mice,” he told me quietly. “They’re the kindest, gentlest rodents, and Sally swallows them whole.”
    I went home not long after that, and I skipped over mentioning Sally and the sewers when my parents asked how I had spent my time with Bryan.
    That night, after I had gone to bed and to sleep, one of Bryan’s older brothers fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. He had been lounging on an old, broken recliner in the attic, and the cherry had lit some of the home’s insulation. People panicked and screamed, fire trucks came and blasted, and the home burnt down, snake and all. Despite staunchly believing that there is no hidden reason behind the minute happenings of the world, I couldn’t help feeling that Bryan deserved this loss. In some small way, I still can’t.

  6. I remember the important things. I may not remember birthdays or dates of monumental events. I know I should, but I remember the important things. The important things to me at least. ‘A girl should want to go fishing. If she doesn’t, you don’t want her. A girl should bait her own hook. If she doesn’t, you don’t want her. Follow these simple rules and you will find the girl you want.’ I remember I didn’t bait my own hook.

    I think we may have been doomed from the start.

    It began and ended in the same place. What a love, hate relationship I have with this harbor. One day the water can be as smooth as glass. One day the water can look too good to be true. One day things don’t look the way they should. Things just don’t feel as safe as yesterday. Things…shouldn’t be this hard. But I was the girl who didn’t bait her own hook. If I would have known, what I know now.

    Is it silly to say that ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ changed my life? I hope you decide to believe me when I say it did. He believed me. Book in hand, he could only hope to have the same affect. Powerful. Addictive. But I was the girl who didn’t bait her own hook.

    I remember Halloween is just as scary as plunging into a relationship you are unsure of.

    I remember the secrets and how much fun they could be. I remember holding hands when no one was looking. I remember how much he knew about me. I remember the important things. I remember the flowers. The champagne. The cards. The letters. But mostly, I remember the important things.

    He thought we would talk things through. He thought we could fix it. He thought he knew. In this very spot, I made his heart happy. But I was the girl who didn’t bait her own hook. In this very spot, I was also the girl who broke his heart. I remember winter is just as cold, dark and lonely as ending a relationship you are unsure of.

    I remember the important things. As happy or as sad as they may be.