We are going to be writing narrative nonfiction…not quite an entire memoir. Instead we will focus on tiny slices of our lives and write those stories.
I write a slice of life story each week on my own personal blog. A slice of life can be a memory from your childhood…those stories that are told at every holiday season. A slice of life can be a story of your day…today. It’s a sliver of your experience in life. It’s a tiny moment.
When you write a slice of life, remember the “so what” of your story. Is there trouble? How is it resolved? Is it a memory? Why are you writing about it? That helps make it interesting to the reader. This week, I’ll write a slice of life post on the blog everyday, so you can see some examples. Try your own. You must have at least TWO stories written for Friday. Bring them to class!
What will you write about in your slice of life stories? Read my slice of life about my childhood bedroom. Why did I write this? What’s the “so what”?
Slice of Life #1: How My Bedroom Turned Me Into a Writer
Four walls covered with lines of pineapples watched me laugh, read, talk, cry, sing…grow up. The pineapple wallpaper wasn’t even new. The edges began to fold up and wear away like a worn out, but well loved note passed in school. As I walked into the room for the first time, pale olive green walls (below the unnecessary chair rail) and orange shag carpet repulsed me. With the attitude of a teenager, I declared, “UUU-HUGGG-LEEE!” (I was only nine, the dramatic years began earlier than expected.)
The rug looks like thick, orange grass. Yuck! Who picked pineapples!? Who thinks these prickly, nasty pieces of fruit are really saying welcome, come in to my room? And who’s welcome in my room, anyway? It’s MY ROOM? NO ONE ELSE ALLOWED!
This was in 1981, before the days of kids decorating their own rooms, it never occurred to me that I could change it. Acceptance began to sink in, I mean the ten by twelve box of pineapples did have it’s advantages. Location, location, location!
I’m alone on the first floor. Wicked awesome! When mom and dad and Katie go to bed, the whole first floor and basement are all mine. I can do what ever I want. What’ll I do? The television is in the family room, I can watch late night TV. What’s on past 9:00? The kitchen is down the hall. Mmmm, midnight snacks! The telephone is sitting in the hall outside my door. I can call anyone I want!
Once the dreams of mischief passed, I noticed the room had eyes. Two giant windows that stood about twelve inches off the orange lawn facing the driveway and the back door.
Sitting in the ugly, but comfortable orange grass and gazing out the windows became a favorite pastime for me. I became the witness to all who came and left our home. I began to sit there with my notebook while I listened to music. I noticed everything: times, cars, clothes…I wondered and created stories. Perhaps, these hours of observing prepared me for writing. I never reported my observations to anyone except my beloved blue flowered journal.