Last week I led a half term workshop for young people at Jubilee Library. The theme for the workshop was writing from your own life experiences. It was a small group but we got some good writing done, and I got to join in too! First of all we looked at the opening of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which Angelou goes back to being seven years old, performing a reading in church – and the feelings of nervousness and embarrassment that I’m sure rang true with all of us from one moment in our lives. We then delved into our own childhood experiences and wrote a piece of prose based on an a strong memory.
Benjamin wrote a funny piece about the first day at a new school in a different country, which I thought would be a great opening to a memoir of living abroad. Scarlett wrote about a Christmas dinner where everything goes wrong in the way things often do at Christmas! Dillan wrote a really atmospheric piece based on his memory of a holiday in Australia. We all agreed that it sounded like the opening to a novel where something foreboding was waiting just around the corner.
Have you ever used a memory or incident from your past to inspire your writing? What’s your earliest memory? Try writing about it if you haven’t already.