Writing Childhood Memories: A Prompt on Locked Paths

by on Friday, February 18th, 2011

Writing Prompts for Creative Writers: Please share your own story using the prompt: How do you feel when you can’t remember certain childhood memories? (Expand: Does repression exist? Is your mind protecting you? Why can writing childhood memories become so tough?)

writing childhood memories

Sometimes the surface of my awareness breaks with enough spirit that I can recall memories buried under so much past time. Pulling them up, as though I were sitting on the edge of a mysterious hole in the unfriendly ice, I treat the memory both with fragility and fierceness – demanding of it so many answers.

By the time I reach the meaty content, I very often find there is not that much left in my hands on the rope I have been pulling up to greet my oh-so eager expectations. What dismay. What tragedy. The idea of stomping my feet and throwing plain white dishes onto a tiled kitchen floor seems appropriately dramatic.

And in this idea, my feet are much smaller. I am envisioning myself at a younger age here. This transported younger me cannot be granted access to what is rightfully hers.

My memories are mine, but I can’t access them. The water is murky, and time was like a sandstorm that worked tirelessly to cover everything. I see the image of myself facing a mirror which is a door. But the mirror knows this is a trick, that this isn’t the authentic me. It won’t let me inside, no pleading or begging will do.

Memories get lodged behind this mirror, and the tap tap tap of endless thinking does not usually free them. “This is me! I know this! We are of the same faith, the same cloth, my soul understands this tiny bit of yours!” I protest so vehemently, but there is no proof. I cannot even testify on my own account with any accuracy. Why has my mind been so thoughtless with my very own thoughts?

Sometimes I feel certain I am only sleep-walking through a wasteland of symbols and ruins I would know to be treasures if only I had held on tighter. I never wound my existence into any moments quite as tightly as the ribbons that were braided into my hair. Have I always rejected every moment of life like this?

I have no happy and final answer for you on that. I can only hope to be fooling myself, falling back on doubt as a safe and (an ironically) resolved feeling. Without automatic and instantly forced verification (fact! my eyes are hazel, I am right-handed, I do not like spaghetti), let the truth settle above the doubt.

Jessica Rae, December 2011

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