Monday, 8 November 2010

How I met my husband -- Red Dress Writing Prompt

This week's memoir assignment is from this week's guest post author, Kate Hopper.

If you didn't read her post about how to create creative nonfiction, go read that first.

Here is her assignment for you:


Writing Prompt: Memory and Reflection
Our memories are powerful—whether they actually happened the way we remember them isn’t as important as what we remember and why. So something I would like you to try this week is to hone in on a memory and then interrogate it. One way to incorporate more reflection in your writing is to constantly be asking yourself questions.

This is a writing exercise in two parts:

Part I
Make a list of some of your most vivid childhood (or more recent) memories. (Maybe it’s an image of your father or mother doing something they did regularly; maybe it’s a visit to a grandmother’s house.)

Jot down a few memories and then pick one and write it down in as much detail as possible. (Take 10-15 minutes to do that…)

Part II
Now I want you to investigate what this memory means to you. Ask yourself the following questions: Why has this stuck with me? What did this mean to me at the time? Why did I (or someone else in the scene) react the way I (they) did? How does it feel to look back on it? How does it still affect me (or not)? (Take 10-15 minutes to do that.)

I look forward to hearing how this exercise goes for you!

Link up will be Tuesday!  Happy remembering and writing!
Part I
How I Met My Husband
What it was like to be Grandma's Girl
The end of a friendship
Summer in Louisiana

Part II
How I met my husband means the world to me. It was the beginning of an eleven year journey that would eventually bring us full circle, back to each other. In the story of how I met him there is a defining moment. I swear the angles sang...

NOTE: There is a "she" mentioned here. Because many of my blog readers are people I actually know, and may know "her", I didn't feel it was appropriate to name her -- Especially since she will most likely never read this and wouldn't have an opportunity to defend herself. I hope that helps clear up the confusion.

The Memory...

I wonder how many people remember the details of the moment they met the person they’d spend the rest of their lives with? So many things about that day are fuzzy to me. But there’s the one moment that’s very clear to me…
Even though we had been best friends since we were fifteen, the day was awkward.  We had been estranged for about a year and had only recently gotten back in touch. The rawness of the hurtful wound was renewed and seemed to bite a little more with the fear that, once again, I would be disappointed.
I wasn’t sure how much more disappointment I could handle. I had just pulled a hasty “exit stage left” from a nasty and abusive relationship. I was living on xanax and Mountain Dew and stopping to draw a deep breath before rounding corners; afraid of what nasty beast, or ex-boyfriend, might lie in wait for me there. Michael is another story though and not one I’m sure I’ll ever tell again.
But, here we were out on another adventure. She was so reckless and I was always the voice of reason in our relationship, carrying my nagging sense of dread like a weight around my neck. She insisted I had to meet him. But, I really didn’t want to. These things always ended badly. I just knew that, once again, I would be bailing her out of some terrible happening.
“Oh, you have to meet Don. You’ll love him”, she said. It was spoken with such verve but, what I heard and felt was impending doom.
I remember thinking, “Oh great – another jerk to add to the list of all the other jerks you’ve ever introduced to me”.
Most of our friendship happened just this way. We seemed to jump from one crisis to the next.  Usually crisis of her own making and always leaving a mess that she would beg me to clean up for her. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would finally call her on it, say “enough” and mean it.
When we arrived, I remember looking around at the house; however, what I observed must not have been that remarkable because I don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember if we knocked before going in. If we knocked I don’t recall who invited us in. I only remember what I saw when that door opened and we stepped into the kitchen.
He was beautiful. Honey brown skin and no shirt. Jeans that hung just right along his hips and the most beautiful brown eyes I’d ever seen. He was dancing with a broom. His socked feet moved over the floor, flowing to some techno sound, and he seemed unaware that anyone else was in the room.
“Wow, you’re in your element”, she said.
Then he looked up and he smiled-- Oh, that smile. The whole world came to a gorgeous crashing halt in that moment. I suddenly became completely incapable of cognitive thought processes. I’m sure I stammered when I said, “Hello”.  Actually, I can be quite certain that I didn’t even say “hello”. I was so stunned that I couldn’t have been capable of putting together that many syllables.
Have you ever experienced a moment when the entire world seems to stop and you can’t focus on anything but the person you’re seeing? I’m sure I must have melted into the floor.
I probably recall this much more vividly than it actually was. In my mind there is almost this cartoonish memory of some shirtless hunk cleaning. You know, like the ones you see on TV? Then, the shirtless hunk smiles and there’s the sparkle special effect on his perfect white teeth and he winks. Sounds like an Orbit commercial, doesn’t it?
Now you’re laughing at me. Don’t deny it. I can hear you. 
That’s the one memory that is always fresh with me. It was nearly 12 years ago. I never would have guessed that day that I was meeting my future husband.
We’ve had so many other great memories in the years we’ve been friends but, that one –that one is the one that always seems like it was just yesterday. It’s the one that still makes my heart flutter when I think of it. It’s the one that still makes me blush deep red. It’s the one that I hold on to when I’m annoyed with him. It’s the one I think of at least once a day. It’s the one that would define everything that ever happened between us.


  1. Okay, I did laugh at the Mr. Clean comparison!

    I'm glad you have such a vivid memory of that most important moment.

  2. I love this story and I can relate to those specific moments being so vivid.

    I was a little confused in a couple of places about who you were talking about...the girlfriend (maybe use her name) and the future husband.

    But the sentiments were load and clear!