I’ve been writing a lot of poems lately that stem from memories from my childhood. Every time I write about a specific memory I’ll text my sister and say, “Just wrote a poem about [insert event from our childhood], do you remember that?” She almost always remembers the event but she’ll remember different aspects of it.
It’s interesting to reach back into your childhood and dig through memories, trying to find one worthy of writing about. My childhood was very happy – I grew up on a farm in a small town in North Dakota. My younger sister and I are less than two years apart so I had a constant playmate. It’s interesting to me to think back on things that happened in my childhood and dissect them now, through the lens of my 36 year old poet’s brain.
If I were just writing about a memory without digging deep into it it’d be easy – I could just write, “this thing happened. I was happy/sad/mad. The end.” But that wouldn’t make for a very good poem. Instead I’m writing about the event and then thinking about the emotions I felt, both then and now. My relationships with my family have changed greatly as I’ve gotten older and so when I think back on things that happened, it’s hard not to pull in my current feelings. And that’s not a bad thing – sometimes I want to create the juxtaposition between how I feel now versus how I felt then. But sometimes I want to just sink into how I felt as a little girl, like when I found my kitten clinging to life in a bucket of oil and asking my mother to please save it. Other times I want to create a bit of conflict by remembering the event but applying the emotions I feel about it today. It’s made for some interesting writing and I’m very excited about it. Recently one of my poems Secondhand Love, a poem about my sister and I as children, was published by The Legendary (you can read it here) and I’m really proud of that poem. I’m writing others about my childhood and have send more off for publication, I’ll post about them soon. Until then, dig into your treasure trove of childhood memories and write a poem!
What’s your strongest childhood memory? Do you feel differently about the event when you look back on it now, as an adult?