Writing Prompt: I Remember

Yes. It sucks. This would suck harder.

Yes. It sucks. This would suck harder.

Between crying and eating pie at the writer’s workshop, I found time to write. Or, as is often the case when I’m asked to write on demand, I bitched about how much I hate to write and how shitty my work is. It’s what I do.

We did a series of writing prompts, most of which I find very helpful. (I’ll post some here if anyone is interested.) This one, Things I Remember, was the first mostly serious piece I’ve done in a long while. And it took about 3.5 minutes. Lesson? Write. Let it be rough and quick and honest and easy. Write. Even if it’s crap. Even if you hate it. Even if you never look at it again. Write.

Things I Remember

I remember sweat tea. She brewed it on the stovetop and added two cups of white sugar to the plastic gallon pitcher. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Always sweet tea. She had a clear mug for the tea, one that I think came from her office, a stock brokerage firm. The bottom of the mug showed various company’s stocks, printed on a plastic-encased, maze thing. There were two tiny silver balls that moved between the raised maze walls. I remember.

She takes the cup by the handle. The balls scurry around the maze, obscured by the orange-brown liquid sky that sloshes above. She tilts the cup, raises the mug to her lips and takes a long sip. The balls move again, finding the lowest spot to briefly rest. She sits the cup back down on the scuffed side table and the balls migrate to different company’s stocks.

Kinda like this. With balls. And a cup.

Kinda like this. With balls. And stocks. In a cup.

My memories fail. I’m not always sure what is real and what is imagined. This, a cup, is one of the few concrete memories I hold onto. A plastic cup. I can’t remember her laughter. I know her eyes were brown, but I know that only through photos. I don’t know who she was, what made her laugh, what she loved. I don’t know how she smelled. I wish I could remember those things.

I remember she watched, “60 Minutes.” I hated it.
I remember she once called me a “little bitch.”
I remember her smallest toe, flat on the inside and pointed into a ridge, one side smooth and one side rough.
I remember fried chicken, the smell sinking into the couch cushions.
I remember she told me she loved me often.
I remember her cup.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Writing Prompt: I Remember

  1. I remember brown walls and the picture of your mom – your books and the way cloves smelled in the ashtray. And your bathing suit hanging on the door handle. And Gary Jules.

  2. Dan

    superb….real is always good.

    • sarafraser

      Thank you. I mean, it’s not really, er, good. I realize that my cup description makes little sense to anyone other than me (hence, the photo), but I agree that real is necessary. Hope you’re well.

      • Dan

        The cup description was great. Could it be better, who knows, I got the picture, without the picture! The fact is you put yourself out there, were vulnerable and it came through. If you write a whole book like this I will certianly buy it. I hope you do post more like this. As for me being well, not much to argue about, thanks for asking. One fickle friend causing angst, but so be it! Ball rests with them. Back to you and the blog, great post, I’ll look forward to more.

  3. Thanks for the reminder we all need to always write! Why is it so fucking hard? We all feel our work is dreadful and droll at best.

    • sarafraser

      Glad to help! It is fucking hard. I don’t know if it’ll ever get easier, and yeah, most everything I write is dreadful. Although, if I ever wrote anything I actually dug, it’d probably be shite. So….we resign ourselves to eternal writish self loathing and angst? Why not? If I didn’t hate my writing, I might hate my hair or my body or something even more asinine.

  4. I loved this. I’d like more, please. Lots more. Please and thank you.

    • sarafraser

      Aw, I’m really glad you liked it. I posted, second guessed myself, and nearly took it down. I mean, it’s not like I only (EVER?) post polished junk, but this seemed particularly sentimental and dumb. You know, the whole, “Just because it happened to you doesn’t mean it’s interesting.” Anyhoo, yeah, turned out to be my most-read post. Ever. Whether that’s good or bad, I dunno. I shall post more prompts. Mostly because I need ’em to write.

  5. Rich

    great reminder…a writer that doesn’t write is just like everyone else…regardless of what we tell ourselves.

    It’s the work that sets us apart…

    Thanks for the prompt!

  6. Jonathan

    I remember sitting in the nursery at Sharon with you and her. I remember asking her how to spell “sayonara” but I don’t remember why. I remember she knew, and told me, and then you and I went back to whatever we were doing, with her watching over us with a book in her hand, until the next time she was needed.

    • sarafraser

      Lulz. Sayonara? Were we weird kids? Do you remember playing, “Try to kill the kid in the rocking chair?” Yes, I remember this. Some kid would sit in the nursery rocker, and we’d essentially throw the thing all over the room. I think (I thiiink) we pretended it was a rocket ship. We definitely did a countdown to liftoff. Tell me you remember this.

      • Jonathan

        We may very well have been weird kids. But we were the only two there really, so who else would be able to tell us?

        I do remember the game with the rocking chair, now that you mention it. I remember the vague feeling of dread mixed with a heaping portion of giddiness as the countdown reached zero. Good times.

      • sarafraser

        I love dread mixed with giddiness. Nothing’s better. 😀

  7. We called it Rock to the Death. It also works in porch swings.

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