Stroll down memory lane . . . Prompt # 81

Today’s writing prompt is inspired by Rebecca Lawton’s May 26, 2014 blog post, which begins:

“Candles of buckeye blossoms and their subtle fragrance have always confirmed the return of summer. Seeing them this week reminded me that certain sights, sounds, and smells trigger strong memories. The whisking sound of a broom on stairs recalls family vacations at the lake, where our host rose early to sweep fallen live oak leaves. The musky scent of open water reminds me of being on a raft enjoying the primal sensations of floating a muddy river. The first bars of a Beatles song bring back the excitement of junior high school dances. Sipping tequila reminds me of kayaking from Loreto to La Paz on the Sea of Cortez.”

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Writing Prompt: Stroll down memory lane . . . pause when a remembered event causes a visceral reaction: you might feel a sensation in your gut . . . write about that event, using sensory detail.

You can use the Summer Prompt as a starting place. Not the “how I spent my summer vacation” September school essay. Focus on detail . . . using sensory description in your writing. Capture that musky lake smell, the charred wood campfire smell. Go with tactile detail: the sticky marshmallows on your fingers, the feel of a rough floor on your bare feet, the bright sun fighting closed eyelids. Wake up! Go deep in your writing. Reach out and capture those feelings. . . whatever they are.

BuckeyeAfter you write, take a look at the responses to Prompt #77    (scroll down) . . . folks used wonderful detail writing about summer.

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  1. Ke11y

    Hope sails on.

    She’s gone. I’ll never know the like of her again. So many miles travelled together, good and bad, but never dull. I saw her as few ever had, lying at rest under a sinking sun, sailing under storm-torn skies when lightning was so sharp it stitched clouds together.

    She was not mine of course; she belonged to the world, a symbol of man’s hope. Now, whenever I sit on the rocks of the Mendocino shoreline, looking out across any ocean, I hear it all come back. The heat, the sense of smell, yes long after the burning has gone, still lingering in my nostrils.

    “Lay still, Kelly. Lay absolutely still.” It’s the voice of my friend, Steve. Tears are rolling down his face.

    “Steve, I can’t feel my legs.”

    “Lay still, do you understand?” Sirens sound in far off streets. The hissing of steam fills the air, as if someone has placed a red-hot poker into the water just behind my head.

    “What’s happened?” I choke out. He doesn’t answer.

    My fingers are burning with cold. I can see myself in the reflective glow of a fire burning in Steve’s eyes. It occurs to me I might be dying right here in my friends lap, and I begin thinking of all the things I want to say so as not to die without being forgiven.

    “When my kids have grown, Steve, tell them it wasn’t all in vain.”

    Steve hears the prayer and looks down at me. He is crying, a man close to being a giant.

    “Listen, you’re going to be all right, don’t think about anything else. You’ve got a chunk of metal in your back, do you understand, don’t move – don’t attempt to move. Do you understand?”

    And there is no more to be heard.

    I wake in a hospital and for three months I lay still while surgeons play around with my spine. I feel totally alone, no-one knowing where I am, and I wonder what I’ve made of my life. There is no touch of hand at my bedside, for what woman was ever going to let me occupy a place in her heart if I will continually risk myself for unreachable ideals. I’ve seen so much; the breath taking beauty of the arctic-bound humpback whale, the mermaid on the rock in Copenhagen, the sensual Kiss of Rodin, the Alpine Clematis bending in the mountain winds, but I’ve never seen my own foolishness till now.

    “You’ll walk,” Steve says, “I just know it, and the doctors say you will.”

    True enough the surgeons played it right and after my third month of treatment I walk out of the hospital.

    The French had bombed and sunk the Rainbow Warrior, killing one friend. Goliath had overcome David. I don’t know why, when I look out to sea, it all comes back to me so vividly; not when there are so many beautiful memories of the Rainbow Warrior, so much achieved. We had our failures, of course, but she handed me friendships and adventures, and now she is gone.

    Almost thirty years have passed since that terrible night in Auckland. A new Rainbow Warrior carries on the tradition. The original crew has grown older, grown beards and bellies, but I guess that was our time. It was also the time of hope… and I wonder if that time is ever truly in the past.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Gorgeous writing and refreshing with originality. A pleasure to read. Keep writing, Kelly!

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