Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Early Memories and Gut-Level Writing

Some writing speaks to us on a different plane. It is carried on the breath of spring, the damp coolness that kisses your cheek on an autumn day, and the dazzling blue sky of high summer. It is writing that evokes common memories.

Not too long ago I was involved in a conversation about early childhood memories. My earliest memory is standing outside while my mother pinned laundry to our clothes line. I specifically remember looking down at the grass beneath my feet. It was sparse and tufted. The lawn at my parents' home was sown the same year I was born, so it was probably still growing in.

Today I was outside, and a nearby bluejay was calling. I've always loved the sound of a bluejay, and it stirred a distant memory. It's not a distinct recollection, but I always feel it's the memory of an early vacation, perhaps on Cape Cod. The call of the bluejay always makes me happy. Perhaps it's because of a happy day from when I was a little girl.

Sometimes I'll read a passage, and think -- YES! The writing will hit me on a visceral level where memory can be felt. I much prefer to feel the impact of a great phrase rather than understand it on an intellectual. Don't you?

Have you ever experienced sights or sounds written in a novel on a gut level? Do they stir up your memories? What did they make you think of?


Paula said...

Love this post, Megan. Still processing your questions, but lived so much of what you wrote about with you because of your powerful language.

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks, Paula!