Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Past as Inspiration for Story

For a long time, I have wanted to write some short stories about the time I was ten years old and my family temporarily moved to West Virginia, where my Dad trained for a new job. We knew it would only be a few months and then we would move back to our home in Indiana.

We moved from a ranch house in the country, with a front and back yard, to a three-room apartment, where all five of us lived. I only stayed about two months, because I had to return to live with my grandparents to attend school. But that change of environment had a great impact on me. Once home, starting school without my parents was also an unsettling time.

Our lives consisted of my Dad going to work, taking our only car, and Mom home with three children. In addition to me, there was my four-year-old and one-year-old sisters. Since my Mom was claustrophobic, we took lots of walks in the downtown of this very small hamlet. We had no laundry facilities at the apartment, so we would load a red wagon with the dirty laundry and walk to the laundry mat. So we made our trek with someone pulling the wagon and someone else navigating my sister's stroller. I will never forget the little boy whose mother ran the laundry mat, who had been in a fire and his face and arms were full of skin graphs. It was difficult for me not to stare.  

Except for our daily outings, most of my days were filled with playing with my Barbie dolls on our living room floor. I would spend hours engrossed in walking them through various scenarios.

So, on and on the experiences go. It is a neat experiment on how I begin to write about a true incident, and then those stories branch off and become fiction.

It has been an interesting time of delving into the past and seeing where it takes me.

Have you been doing anything new with your writing?