#SOL20 Day 21 “Time”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

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I immersed myself in this quick write and practiced that skill of noticing and remembering but found out just how unreliable memory can be. I mentally put myself there in my room to relive these moments of clock watching and then when I went up to my room to actually look at the clock, after the fact, I discovered my memory of red numerals was inaccurate!!Screen Shot 2020-03-20 at 7.42.04 PM

How many details in my memory are undependable or false? Is that what it’s like for memoirists as they write to remember? Do they grapple with the doubts of inaccuracies? I’m learning so much with these simple exercises…about myself and about writing  memories.

18 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 21 “Time”

  1. Such a simple fact, the color of the numbers. Really what does it matter in memoir? The important part here is that you recognize that you tick away the hours during the night. I can’t see a clock in the middle of the night, so on my worst sleepless nights, I put on my glasses to look at the time. If I take that step, I know it’s bad.

    1. I’m guessing that that is the conclusion good memoirists come to, ‘what really matters’? Memories are not movies we replay, they are moments we reconstruct. I see that that reconstruction will not always be reliable and I have to be ok with that if I want the story to be told!

  2. Memories are interesting. While talking with my brothers and sisters about things that happened when we were children, each one of us remembers and swears to certain details. What is the truth? I guess we each have our own.

  3. Do you ever go through periods where every time you look, the digits are identical? Lately that’s been happening a lot when I check my Fitbit: 11:11; 4:44; 2:22. Freaky in its own way!

  4. What an interesting subject that could be approached from so many angles. Yours was focussed on bedtime and sleep; mine might be my FitBit, which buzzes at ten minutes to the hour each time I’ve missed getting 250 steps in the previous fifty minutes. One could also write about the perception of time altered by current events–the rapid spread of COVID-19 compared to the slow ticking of the clock as we sit separately in our homes.

  5. Paula, I am using your inspiration in my #100daysofnotebooking journal. Thank goodness I have lots of spare journals in my home office. I thought of the it’s always a good time to read clock in the literacy center marking time with the books in that empty room until we return.

  6. You make a good point, Paula. Haven’t done a quick write from Natalie’s book for a few days…going to do one today, though. Stay well!

  7. I love seeing your notebook page. It makes me want to notebook and not just write on the computer. Maybe I’ll try one soon. And time in the middle of the night. I no longer have a glowing clock in my bedroom and I try to not look at my phone. But some nights, when I’ve been awake for an hour, I just get up. Early morning is my best writing time and luckily, I can grab an afternoon nap when I need it right now.

  8. I’m really loving your posts this month, and I am looking forward to challenging myself to write memoir next month. Would you recommend I read the book you are using for prompts, or is it sufficient to just write from the prompts you’ve posted this month?

    I love the thinking about misremembering details. I have often thought that as I write memories down. Am I lying if I don’t get it all right? What’s the most important thing?

    1. I talk to kids about writing, “rememoire” Remembering what we can and filling in the rest. (They don’t have as far back to remember!) Misremembering is a ‘forgivable sin’!!
      You can certainly start from the prompts but the book is more than a series of prompts. She discusses the art of memoir writing quite well and it’s only $11 and some change on Amazon. I think it makes a great resource!

  9. How apropos you’d be writing about the color of your digital clock numbers. My brother-in-law a few months back mentioned in conversation never to order a digital clock with blue numbers because he’d read it keeps you awake. So our clock died and I had the choice online of red or blue. I thought, “That’s silly. Why would blue keep you awake?” I ordered the glue and guess what? It keeps us awake! 😦 LOL!

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