I Remember… [writing exercise]

Part 1: Start out every line/phrase with “I remember” and see what emerges. They key is not to think about it too hard – just write. My “I remember” exercises tend to be a mix of my own memories and things that emerge from the worlds and characters I create. Feel free to write this as you, as a character, or without any framework just to see what emerges.

I remember the bonfire, the smell of the smoke, how you sat so close that you melted the bottom of your shoes.
I remember the bookstore in Columbus that was a series of small, adjoining rooms that you could actually get lost in.
I remember walking along the beach and seeing almost no shells, but lots of smooth white stone.
I remember the first time I saw a sunrise in Colorado and finally understood “purple mountains majesty”.
I remember the time a fox crossed the road in front of me as I was stopped at a stop sign late at night.
I remember driving around on back roads in rural Ohio for hours, with music playing.
I remember waiting at the bus stop and wondering if you’d actually show up.
I remember losing myself in writing a particular story.
I remember a recurring dream about jumping out of a castle turret.
I remember the day I suddenly developed a fear of heights.
I remember the scent of the rugosa roses outside the Barnegat Lighthouse.
I remember getting lost in the giant snow drifts the morning after the first blizzard I ever experienced.

Part 2: Take one (or several) of these and embellish.

I remember driving around on back roads in rural Ohio for hours, with your music playing. How you skipped from one song to the next without letting them finish. How we kept passing the same fields and barns and how I pretended not to notice. You were lost, but not in the sense that you didn’t know how to reach your destination – in the sense that you didn’t have a destination, but didn’t want to say so. All you wanted was to be on the move, to be somewhere else or someone else, and I understood. I know the peculiar restless feeling that comes from being unhappy in a situation. The aimless but overwhelming feeling that if you don’t move, don’t laugh, don’t party, don’t break the rules, don’t talk loudly, don’t keep moving and making noise, that you’ll be pulled under.

Part 3: Whatever you want! Repeat, keep writing, or tuck away as a writing exercise completed. I find that using exercises like this can trigger new ideas, or help me get unstuck in a WIP, or give me insight into a character I’m writing.

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