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Drawing your childhood memories

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead if we want to write for young people. The trick is … how to access them. Sometimes a good shortcut is to use a significant object as a prompt.

Think about a pair of shoes, but not just any pair of shoes … shoes that you can remember from your childhood. They could be the first pair of shoes you remember wearing, your school shoes, your football boots, ballet slippers; perhaps the shoes you wore when you got into a nightclub underage. Perhaps they are even the imaginary spaceship boots you always dreamed of! Whatever they are, really think about them.

Now, draw them! Try to remember as many little details about them as possible. If they were scuffed. If the laces were broken.  If the heel was falling off. If you need to, put little arrows pointing out from your picture for these notes. Focus on the senses the shoes gave you, too – what did they smell like, what did they feel like on, what were all the colours on them, what noise did they make when you wore them? Once you’ve drawn them as accurately as you can, really remember what age you were when you had them. What was going on in your life at the time. What were you doing the day you first saw them?  Did the shoes fit in with your life, or not?  How did the shoes make you feel? What are some of the things you did in those shoes, significant memories? Make notes about all this.

Now, WRITE as quickly as you can about the first time that you saw these shoes, or about a significant time/memory you had with them. Try to keep your pen on the paper the whole time, and don’t stop and read over what you’ve done. Just let the memories flow. For an extra challenge, write in first person perspective (i.e. your voice for however old you were when you first saw the shoes.) and in present tense (as if you are seeing the shoes right in front of you right now).  Really try to get into the mind of the young person you were – that eye view.

Using an object like this is a great way of accessing a whole stock of memories. I’m sure with the shoe picture in front of you, you could think of more than just one memory or story to write about. Being able to use your own experiences is a great way of connecting with a young person. Further, writing about your own experiences is a good way of reaching an emotional, accurate truth – a great way to start your important journey to discovering and perfecting your child’s eye views.

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