Drawing On Past Connections
As we traverse the landscape of life, we live out (and outlive) many roles – both personally and professionally. We are children, siblings, sons and daughters, parents, grandparents and sometimes great-grandparents. We are students, teachers, friends, partners, workers, bosses, and so on…
Over the years we pass through many phases – different careers, house moves, living interstate or abroad, a range of much-loved activities – and experience unique highs and lows.
Put simply, even when a person is plodding through what appears to be the most mundane existence, there are abundant writing opportunities. That is not to say that everything we write that is stimulated by events in our lives must be autobiographical. Of course, they could be… but think laterally.
Let’s take as an example a single aspect of one of my career evolutions. In the eighties and nineties, I was in private practice… counselling, groupwork and natural therapies. Part of my work was in the prison system and I could write about my experiences, or I could choose from many other options – a novel, from the point-of-view of a prisoner (or their partner, a child or parent); a movie, with the central theme of a break-out; non-fiction books/articles… the history of prisons (generally, in this country), the effectiveness of the system, the demographics of crime, an examination of prisoners’ rights; the value of therapeutic work in prisons, transition programs, or the experiences of prisoners’ families while they are inside. And this barely scratches the surface of possibilities.
> Consider the various stages of your life and brainstorm them onto paper.
> Choose one stage and ask yourself… What friendships, relationships and other connections would inform my writing if I revisited this period?
> Write a focussing paragraph beginning with ‘When I lived at…’, ‘When I worked at…’, ‘When I used to fly aeroplanes…’, or similar.
> Take a step back in time by looking at old photographs, reading letters you received/wrote during that stage of your life, reconnecting with people you knew back then – via phone, email, Facebook or some other means.
It is likely your creative juices will be rampant by the end of this journey into the past. List any writing possibilities that are pushing for attention, select one and let your fingers dance on the computer keyboard!
This Writing Exercise is related to Writing Tip #18, Writing Exercise #16 ~ Journey Into A Photograph, Writing Exercise #17 ~ Take Five Words, Blog ~ Reconnecting and Blog ~ Hidden Stories Lurk In Photograph Albums.