Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Once RemembeRED

One dark and stormy night, I found myself in the backseat of my Grandmother's car as we traveled along a gravel road.  We had all been at a picnic in some small town, and someone had carried me to the car after I fell asleep.   I could hear my brother snoring loudly from the front; this was before the era of carseats and seatbelts and airbags.  I lay quietly on my back, staring up at the rain rolling down the back window, when lightning flared across the sky. 





It was close, and the thunder that followed drowned out the sound of the gravel road as well as my brother's snoring.  I stared, fascinated, as more lightning chased that thunder.  The rain hitting the windows distorted the power flashing between the clouds, but it was all magical to me.  I wanted to be outside in the rain, my arms raised as if to embrace the storm, and touch the lightning.  Then that power would race through me and it would be wonderful to feel powerful, instead of just a powerless little girl.

"Grandma?"  I didn't even have to sit up to know that she was hunched over, with white knuckles at the "ten and two" on the wheel. 

"What if you touch the lightning?" I spoke to my grandmother, but I was asking the sky.  "It's so pretty!"

My grandmother took a deep breath, and spoke in a rush.

"If you get struck by lightning your skin will turn black and fall off and all your hair falls out and your teeth too."  She went back to her quietly fierce driving as the car fishtailed a little on the gravel.

It didn't matter to me.  Something so beautiful, made of the purest light, had to be an angel of some sort, and I knew that angels would never hurt me.  I also knew that my grandmother would not let me leave the car to test my theory; there was nothing for a six year old to do.  Except dream about embracing lightning.


Prompt: Select an old blog post you’ve written and rewrite it as a memoir piece. You can focus on one element from it, or include them all, depending on what it’s about.   This is the post that I chose.

19 comments:

  1. Excellent job, not just with the memoir but the prompt. You truly took a post that spoke in generalities and the filter of time and distilled it down to a moment in the car.

    You've captured both the awe of your child self and the contrast with your grandmother's nervousness about driving in the storn.

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    1. Anxiety runs in my family, so this particular incident surprised me. I wasn't anxious about this at all! Thank you for your feedback, it is very much appreciated.

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  2. Beautiful post. I love how you captured your childhood feelings.

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  3. I agree with Angela's comment. The way that you exploded this moment, capturing the wonder of a child's point of view. And the moment with the grandmother, with the hunched fingers, the 10 and 2, and her dialogue spoke so much with such economy.

    My favorite line was about the powerless girl, and you really captured me throughout.

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    1. Thank you very much--this prompt made me miss my Grandmother's driving. But not too much!

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  4. "except dream about embracing lightening" that line blew me away and took me to the backseat of that car. I too, fancy myself, that kind of child with a nervous grandmother and her stickshift on the column swearing she would never drive in the rain. It was real and dark and those little hits of ligtening lit up my memories.

    Thank you :)

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    1. Your wonderful feedback made me smile!

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  5. ""What if you touch the lightning?" I spoke to my grandmother, but I was asking the sky."

    I love that, the expansive wonder, and then met with a grandparent's pragmatic reply.

    The others have said it, but it bears repeating, this is a wonderful example of turning a moment open to see what's really inside it.

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    1. This particular memory has repeatedly risen to the surface of my mind over the years, and I am glad that I finally got it written down!

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  6. I'm approaching 40 and I feel the same way about lightning. I always have. It scares my mother to near death whenever there's a lightning storm but I always have to fight the urge to run out and watch, like fireworks on the 4th of July.

    I think you've captured that moment beautifully, from grandma's white-knuckled drive to the wonder of a child. I hope you can still see angels in the world.

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    1. Thank you--I do still find angels out there, and they are so comforting these days.

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  7. I loved this. The imagery, the sense of wonder, the description of the grandmother. I wonder how you felt about the rewrite, and whether it will impact future blog posts.

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    1. I felt really good about this rewrite, but then I have had some really great 'teachers' over at WOE. Some of what I've learned may have finally sunk in!

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  8. Incredible! Your grandmother gave you a scary message and you still had your strength and imagination to pond the possibilities. I used to get similar messages and was just left with fear.

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    1. Usually, my grandmother would get me all riled up with anxiety with her, but not this time.

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  9. You did such a great job with this!

    I loved how you settled into the car and that moment, showing your grandmother's fear and anxiety and your imagination and peace. You trusted her to get you home safely while you dreamed of lightening. That last line, was beautiful. Simply beautiful.

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  10. I think this is a great example of distilling the larget theme of loving the storms into one beautifully crafted scene. I also appreciate how you show it rather than just tell about your love for storms.

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  11. Wow, I love the contrast between the wonder of a child and the fear of an adult, and the distillation of the previous post into one discreet moment in the car that captures it perfectly. Most children are afraid of thunder and lightning--I love what it says about you that you wanted to embrace it.

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