Have you ever taken the road less traveled? Did something unexpected happen? Changing up your routine can help you see your life and choices in a different context. This can be especially helpful while you’re working on a memoir.
Put yourself in a different place/situation, with different people, eating different food and you will become more aware of your senses. You’ll pay closer attention and notice things you’ve previously raced by in oblivious routine. Each week, during a six week concentrated writing session, do one new thing a week. It might be as simple as taking a different route to or from work each day or wearing something that’s a very different style than your typical clothing choices. Maybe you’ll sit in a different place on the bus, read a different book. Do you see a pattern here? Different. Mix it up a bit and it will focus your senses. Keep a notebook with you and jot short notes about those sensory reactions: smells, taste, touch, sight, and hearing.
Here’s a bit of Mr. Robert Frost to illustrate the point (and because I’m a poetry geek!)
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Incorporate sensory descriptions from your new experiences into the stories surrounding your old memories. Then, when you sit down to write or record this week re-live the events you’re writing about, but with added texture, using your heightened awareness of sensory perception. It will make your story richer and your memories just come alive.