"One to two pages. Make a list of all the objects you remember from your
childhood home. Don't stop until you reach at least fifty. Don't use any
particular order or many adjectives. Don't censor yourself - something
seemingly unimportant may evoke strong impressions.
Read your list and circle the objects that evoke the strongest feelings
and memories of events. What are these events? Now write one page and
describe one of these events. Rely on topography. Where exactly did it
happen? What objects were involved?
Objective: To let your home begin to write stories for you. Memory is
your best source of settings.
Check: Go over the details and cross out the ones that don't evoke
strong impressions. It's good to bring out many details and then select
one that work best; select a few, condense. Your reader will appreciate
this economy. Don't be sentimental, in other words, don't mention the
sentiment. For example, "I walk down the yellow marble stairs where my
grandfather slid one winter and broke his hip. That was the last step he
took; he died shortly after the injury. In the space beneath the
staircase I find my old dog's house, with his shaggy hairs caught in the
rough edges of the wood planks, although the dog is long gone." If you
don't dwell on the emotional significance of the grandfather and the
dog, but move on, you avoid sentimentality. If the grandfather is
important, show us in a scene, an interaction with the man so we can
experience him and your loss of him. We won't miss an abstraction about