I have been wanting to write about my childhood for a long time. But there is stuff I don't want to relive or talk about anymore because I’ve just hashed it out too many times. I started writing down visual details of rooms & things that I had not given much thought to at the time. This became a new lens to which to look at things and a different way for me to approach my memories.
What I found was like, with the white rock, I'd remember three things. And then I'd remember another three things. Like, the Nerf grape soda. I remember when my dad brought it home from the grocery store and the bottles fell out of the bag and they broke and the purple fizz was all of a sudden running down, rolling down the driveway. He wasn’t happy about it though I found it to be funny at the time.
I started to remember all of this stuff and started to enjoy getting lost in it. Soon though, I felt like there wasn't a story in it. It felt so different to me. Like, what is this about? Is this just an exercise? Then I started to notice that this was also my story, and this process was a story in itself.
This text was transcribed from an audio recording that I made by playing with the original paragraph, which I wrote to jog my memories (I twisted around phrases like Nerf soda grape, and there are others, to serve as visual markers). I was playing a slow-changing drone on my keyboard while speaking and remembering. Each time I spoke the original paragraph subtle details would emerge and I went with it. Each time I read the text out loud, I let my visual memories fill it out more, as if I have always been telling this story..
Original paragraph: One day there was a girl who played with dolls, bears, imagined drawings and art. After seeing puppets and people and playing house. There was a white rock and Nerf soda grape. Avon "Sweet Honesty" perfume and yellow dresses. I saw the people playing from my bedroom window which had a hi-fi record player and “Free To Be You and Me” playing on the speakers or in the basement reel to reel recordings of people and animals of all types and speaking so many ways I had not imagined.
First reading out loud of the original paragraph: One day there was a girl that was me. Who played with dolls, bears and who imagined drawings, and art, after seeing puppets and people and playing house in the gazebo in the backyard. There was a white rock in front of the house, my family house, and Nerf grape soda. Too many bottles of Avon “Sweet Honesty” perfume. Yellow dresses, particularly a yellow terry cloth dress.
I see kids playing outside from my bedroom window on the second story of a two story house. My bedroom had a hi-fi record player, and "Free To Be You and Me" playing through the speakers. I loved that album.
When my dad got home from work, we would all go down to the basement, where he would play reel to reel recordings of people or stuff that he recorded during the day. We would listen at night or on the weekends. These recordings were very expressive of people and animals of all types speaking in so many ways I would never even dream of. Getting lost in those sounds, listening, dancing...
Second reading out loud of the original paragraph: One day there was a girl, that’s me. Who played with dolls, bears and imagined drawings and art, after seeing puppets and people and playing house in the backyard in the gazebo or inside of the house. There was a white rock, a white painted rock in the front yard, and Nerf grape soda. Too many bottles of Avon "Sweet Honesty" perfume, and one of the bottles actually had a yellow dress, it was like this yellow figure, it had this puffy yellow skirt, that had pink flowers? Yellow dresses, like halter dresses.
I see kids playing outside from my bedroom window on the second story. We lived on a dead end and there would be people playing baseball out there. I remember the hi-fi record player and “Free To Be You and Me” playing through the speakers. I loved that album, I don't even remember it.
In the basement, when my dad got home from work, we would all go downstairs to listen to the reel to reel recordings that he recorded during the day. He was an audio engineer. He had a large collection of recordings of spoken word, people and animals, in very expressive and imaginative sound settings. Speaking in so many ways I had not imagined. It was so much fun listening, dancing, getting lost in it, spinning...