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Five Posts to Write Right Now

Stuck? Staring at a blank screen? Never fear…you’ve got all the inspiration you need when you tap into your past.

I recently hit a milestone age that invites gifts of black balloons and gravestone-shaped birthday candles. As I get older, I tend to spend more time wearing a path down memory lane. While it’s easy to get mired in the past, I try to use memories in a constructive way…to inform and inspire my writing today.

Today’s Five Posts to Write Right Now are all nostalgia-based.

1. The place where you felt happiest or safest.

As a teenager, I loved riding in my friend Jack’s Toyota Corolla station wagon. We’d belt out songs from the Evita soundtrack on our way to a New Hampshire, summer-stock production of Man of La Mancha. Would you believe I wasn’t popular in high school? I remember the front seat of that car, with its cassette deck and broken glove box, in vivid detail.

If you had a time machine and could go back to any place, at any time in your life, where would it be? Did you ever return to that place as an adult? If so, was the magic still there?

When aging gets me down, I recall something my dad once said:

“While getting older can be tough, it’s certainly better than the alternative.”

2. An antiquated item like a pay phone you had to dial, penny candy, or your Charlie’s Angels lunch box.

The older I get, the less value I put on objects. But, in childhood, I didn’t have “things,” I had “treasures.” Memories of these items are especially valuable to me, as many of them were lost over the years. Case in point: my yellow Sony Sports Walkman was something I never thought I could live without. I always carried it, along with my Purple Rain and Thriller cassettes.

Did you have a talisman? Was there an object in your childhood home that brings up emotion for you when you think of it? Is there something you wish you could get your hands on now…but isn’t manufactured or attainable anymore?

3.  A food that reminds you of your youth.

My family loved a dish called Chicken Chaikind (named after the neighbors who invented the recipe). It was a special night if mom was baking it. As the instructions directed, she poured uncooked, white rice in the bottom of a baking dish, placed raw chicken breasts on top, sprinkled on a Lipton onion soup packet, smothered the whole thing in cream of mushroom soup, and then added a half gallon of orange juice. Wait, what? Yes, good ol’ Minute Maid OJ. Then, the casserole was baked within in inch of its life. I’m not sure why, but we loved it most when the edges were burnt. While I can’t even describe it without wincing now, we loved this meal.

Is there a food that evokes memories of your younger days, of a relationship you had, or of a major event in your past? Have you eaten it since then, or was it a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Relive it, improve upon it, or recall a memorable meal.

4. What you thought you were going to be when you grew up.

As a child, without a shadow of doubt, I knew I was going to be an archaeologist. Thank you, Indiana Jones. I had no idea about the reality of the career…I just knew that I wanted adventure. I liked to travel, I disliked snakes, and I was pretty sure that, if necessary, I could outrun a massive rolling boulder. I even once signed a diary entry, “Dr. Robyn Jones PhD Archaeology.”

Then I majored in theatre in college.

How about you? Did you know what work you’d do as an adult? If so, was it because it was your family business, or because it would get you out of your hometown, or because you’d be able to change the world? What happened…did your dream become a reality?

5. Your childhood fear.

As a young kid, I had three major fears: clowns, ghosts, and that I’d be brutally murdered by my stuffed animals while I slept. Needless to say, I suffered from insomnia, and spent elementary school with bags under my eyes big enough to make a basset hound jealous. My fear of a teddybear rebellion was paralyzing and dramatic, but now seems bizarre and utterly hilarious. Although that whole clown thing? That will never go away. Clowns are terrifying.

How did you manage your biggest fear? Did you overcome it, did it fade away, or does it still haunt you? Do you know why the fear began? Was it a grounded fear, or a ridiculous one? (Mine, of course, were completely based in reality.) What kind of fears held power over you in the past?

Do you often delve into the past to inspire your writing?

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  1. Is it okay if I write a post answering this questions because I find that If I do it here, It will be long and going to clutter your space. I will of course link back to this post mentioning this article is what prompts me to create mine. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Great ides! I will definitely do the food that reminds me of childhood and my childhood fear…so appropriate for my blog and just thinking about what once was 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  3. These are great ideas AND great mini stories for us! Thank you for sharing. Until I hit about 8th grade and discovered how much upper level math is involved, I was convinced that I would be a geologist/jewelry maker. My dad, bless his heart, has always told me I would be a great teacher some day. He likes to brag that he won. I do get to teach Earth Science and Writing…my two favorite things.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This is a very emotional and powerful topic for me. I’ve only just started to seriously consider what it is I really want for my life, and one of the things I need to do to answer that is to dive back into my past and look at my past self objectively.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. For numbers for and five, my childhood fear was that I would grow up…
    That’s inspired all my writing in a way as I mostly write about my current life of exploring and adventure that began when I quit my job, sold my stuff, and left my adult life.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Since my blog covers culture, history (and travel, cycling, art), I do delve into my personal history. But I tend to write it by using a personal history vignette or memory moment as part of a longer time continuum on the subject.

    So here’s my recent paeon to childhood comfort food that can become adult comfort food:

    https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/comfort-food-requires-no-recipe/

    It’s not about me but at the end, on sharing past experiences with other readers/commenters on a common subject.

    All of us take our personal history for granted. Something that seems so boring to us, because it’s so deeply engrained in our upbringing we may fail to realize our personal experiences exist within a cultural context and point in time.

    If we look hard enough backward, we each have lived through world/national history moments.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m glad that someone posted the question. I really would like to post about these questions for my blog. Thanks a lot for the idea. No worries though , I’ll be sure to give you a shout out.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. This so interesting! You made me think…1. It was my grandmother’s house…there are loads memories in there.2.my first dancing barbie. 3. A simple steamed rice with condensed milk4. Wanted to be an actress which is so impossible coz am so shy 5. Am afraid of darkness and sleeping alone…yeah think i have overcome the sleeping alone when i came here inUK except with darkness i guess it still keeps my heart beat faster than it should be:)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have a problem with these sort of ideas. I can’t believe than people want to read about my trips down memory lane. Yes, OK for talking over with friends but as for reading, no I don’t think so. My idea of a blog, and certainly the type i want to read, is something one actively does, whether it’s a craft, a pursuit of some sort, travel, cinema going, concert going (which covers reviews) etc. If it’s not an active pursuit then I’m happy to read a philosophical discussion or a political discussion, but nor just a nostalgic trip. Obviously, the problem lies with me because the blogosphere is full of people writing just that sort of thing and it is popular.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, you don’t need to write a whole post on a nostalgic topic. Sometimes, just peppering in specific details about your past helps your readers relate to you, and get to know you better.

      Not everyone’s cup of tea, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Just enjoyed reading your work. Its so easy and comfortable to read. One day I hope to write like you. I’m a little out of the Blogasphere at the moment (life seems to get in the way !!) Hope to dive back in soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I am only 21 years old right now, however, I like some of these ideas to make posts about. The one that stuck out to me the most is what you wanted to be when you grew up. Being in college, I thought I knew what I wanted. As I tried new things, I learned that I absolutely dislike my first idea and have decided to change my path.

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  12. As I read your post I was taken down memory lane… phones you had to dial, crusing with friends as a teenager too. My mom did a similar chicken dish with the mushroom soup. no onion soup or orange juice, but sounds delicious… thanks for sharing :}

    Liked by 3 people