Sunday, June 24, 2012

Memories Fuel Stories


I was sitting outside last night having my last smoke for the day, looking down my driveway, porch light on, gazing at my car. Not that I think it’s something but you know how it is when you’re thinking about nothing you just happen to stare at anything. Anyhoo...
Suddenly, images flashed in my mind from the past:

As a four year old during my very first visit to Greece...looking up at this tall man with the biggest and kindest smile on his face, bending down and twirling me in the air. That was my very first time I had ever met my grandfather from my dad’s side and it was the very last time I ever saw him again. I don’t remember anything else about that first visit to our homeland other than my grandfather’s smile and how connected I felt to him. He died several years later.

Images fast forwarded now to a point in my life when I was in the hospital around the age of 9 or 10, the second time I was in there. I had never seen my dad cry before and I don’t think he saw me because he simply sat there wiping tears. Only years later did I find out that he had gone to church that day, bought and donated an icon to the Greek church and made a prayer for me to get better, not to have my right leg amputated from the knee down. Mom and dad, as any loving parents, were in that hospital room every single day. Those needles around my knee cap every day were always followed by tons of ice cream and “What does my Leaki want?” comments. Leaki is an endearment for Lea. What they didn’t realize is that as a youngster I rather enjoyed the ice cream, the toy room, and attention and games from everyone. The needles, operations, and poking I could have done without.

Images came in fast now of our family every Sunday night drive around Montreal and eating out, making sure Mom didn’t have to cook at least once a week...vacations...Dad walking in from work exhausted, his stomach looking like Santa Claus because he had stuffed so many chocolate bars, chips, and other goodies for me and my siblings, he couldn’t button up his shirt...the way my parents looked at each other like newlyweds...

Images of high school friends...the excitement of leaning over the girls bathroom window having a quick smoke while others stood guard by the door...meeting my husband in high school and how that Spidergal tingling told me he was the one for me...

My wedding...birth of each of my children...hospital visits for one or the other sick child...images of people I’ve loved who passed away...

All these came about by simply staring at my car. My smoke had since burned out yet I never noticed because I was too drawn into these memories and images to care.

Every writer has the ability to go back in time and pull a memory and all its emotions. That is what a story is all about...pulling your reader into an emotional roller coaster where their senses are elevated to a degree where they can actually envision/smell/taste/hear/touch everything your character experiences.

So never hesitate to open a forgotten door because...
Memories Fuel Stories.

2 comments:

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you, Lea, for illustrating with such clarity how good writing pulls you in and keeps you wanting more. I know I read this and wanted more. Simple wonderful.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Great writing, memories and inspiration Lea. Thanks for sharing.