Use a Single Memory to Capture a Story
Today’s post is all about using a single memory as a story trigger. Your story doesn’t have to be long and involved – but it should be about a memory that’s meaningful for you. The example below is one of my memory-inspired stories; as you can see it’s short, has the details that I remember, and means a lot to me.
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Camping on a Missouri River Sandbar
Years following my dad’s death, my mom married an old friend, Joseph Dunn, called Lee or Ducky. Lee was a great guy and one who I felt had been born a century too late. Although he worked for the Burlington-Northern Railroad, all of his free time was spent on the Missouri River, where we lived, Lee was a skilled duck hunter, trapper, and fisherman. He read the weather with an uncanny accuracy that he attributed to his Blackfoot heritage.
One summer, my mom, Lee, myself and my dog, Mishka, got in the boat and traveled up the Missouri to a large sandbar where we pitched tent. Mom cooked over an open fire, grilling the fish Lee had just caught. If memory serves me right I opted for a hotdog and beans as I never acquired a taste for catfish. Mom and Lee slept in the tent and I threw a sleeping back on the ground.
The night sky was filled with stars, as only a sky can be when you’re away from civilization.
We spent the next two days just hanging out on the sandbar or going up river to fish. When Sunday afternoon came, we packed the boat to head back down river to home. Mishka refused to get in the boat so we pulled away from the sandbar – at which point she jumped in the water and swam over to us. I remember being scared that she would drown but she proved me wrong.
Those days were so long ago, but they are oh-so-treasured.
And, my guess is that you have hundreds if not thousands of special memories. Why not take 10 minutes today and write about one?
Here’s a little three-photo slideshow of those days.