Writing Exercises #1

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Prompt- Memory

It is 1984 I am six years old. I am in the car with my parents in their little white jelly bean hatchback, we’re driving up towards Paradise at Mt. Rainer and I was tucked safe in my booster seat, singing and good. I remember thinking this was the most romantic song, I was deeply infatuated with these two tender men and the way they crooned.

Today I am listening to one of my lengthy playlists, it is full of the country and blues and r&b I remember hearing at home and in the car. The music we listened to for weekend cleaning, for cooking, to just dance and sing around the house. Much of my time lately has been taken up with examining memory and playing with writing memoir. I listen to this music and I want to paint it over my childhood, a gentle wash to blur the hard edges and jagged memories.

A large part of me wants to hold nothing but the music, the images of my Mom’s hips swaying, the pauses in stirring or wiping down a counter to belt out the good parts. I used to be able to do that, I could drown out things she said at other times, I could gloss over and reframe the things I thought were just wrong about me because obviously, I was such a hard child to have. I cling to those good moments, to that feeling of being held emotionally and safe.

I cling and now I let go. I know that to heal is to both remember and forget. To expose myself as a raw nerve and to protect my heart. I don’t want to do any of it. I want to be 7 years old in my room, wearing thrifted dress up clothes, singing ‘Bad Girls’ and ‘Elvira’, I want to be that kid putting on full drag shows as taught by my beloved queens, I don’t want to think. I don’t want to remember.

I want to close my eyes, sit back and caterwaul until I feel safe.

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Ten minutes, timed.

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