Thursday, March 25, 2021

SOLSC '21 Day Twenty-five: Real memories


I am participating in my ninth Slice of Life Story Challenge run by the team behind the Two Writing Teachers website.  We are challenged to write a blog post a day throughout the month of March.

There's been a bit of discussion in posts and comments in this year's SOLSC about memories--which ones are real, which are borrowed from family stories, fuzzy recollections and crystal clear details.  I decided to start a list of real memories, ones I know for certain are mine.  They are presented in no particular order.

the feel of smooth, short dog hair at my feet and in the bend of my legs, under the covers (and sometimes dog gas wafting up from under those sheets)

the soft, urgent beeps of heart monitors and IV drips in the NICU; the sound of the respirator in my parents' living room

the sunrise from Senior Hill

my cheek pinched by a stranger saying "Bella, bella"

where my bedroom was located in Naples, San Jose, Stuttgart, El Paso, Jester Dormitory

tumbleweeds and coyotes strolling down Opalstone Street

brown dust accumulating in a day on windowsills

the sweet smell of dance floor fog

cruising Dyer and Transmountain and North Mesa at night

eating ramen noodles for the first time, the kind in the square package

empty stretches of IH-10 without another car in sight, only mesas in the distance (and the time I saw a B-1 bomber fly soundlessly over the desert)

how small the Mona Lisa really is, in person

spicy gingerbread hearts as big as a dinner plate, with white icing sentiments

crowded delivery rooms and kind, efficient nurses

holding my babies for the first time, weeks, hours after delivery

a blue casket with an ivory interior

docksiders and Doc Martens, prep button-collar button-downs and concert teeshirts with the sleeves cut off

cannibalistic guppies flushed down the toilet

the space between my mattress and headboard, mornings after earthquakes I slept through


This has been interesting, recording these fragments; I may continue them for the next day or so's Slices.


  1. This is an amazing list and some of them take your breath away like the NICU and living room sounds. I too have written a few memories this year, mostly because the memories seem to have surged while reading other's memories. This format is powerful and I might just borrow it. It tells so much about the writer.

    1. I found the strongest sensory memories hit first, when I started thinking of them. Probably one of my easier Slices to write, given that I could trust the content! I hope you do try it.

  2. Chris, I cried. I cried reading these memories, and I read them twice. My husband always says I am the most nostalgic being, and he's right: I live in these fragments. I think often about memory soup - and what remains. What stays with us? Why? TY for sharing these beautiful little clips with us. Raw and emotional, they are what they are, and they are meaningful, special, TRUE. Have you read Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad is Untrue? He writes about fragmented memories - and the narrative style mimics just that...
    Biggest hugs,

    1. Oh, Nawal, I hope I didn't color your day with sadness because of my post! I think the medical sounds stick with me because of the longevity of the exposure; my daughter was in the NICU for 65 days, my mother on a respirator for almost a year. And now I have another book to add to my reading pile; thank you!

    2. And now that I see the cover....I think it is already in my reading pile, an ARC from the to the hunt.

  3. Chris - in these little snippets of your life lie so much meaning - they are pieces of the mosaic of your existence. I am reminded again of the power of moments; we tend to remember those to which emotion and pleasure are attached. These crystal-clear images may stay with you for their own merits, or for the significant moments surrounding them. Fascinating stuff, memories - and your snippets make such a poignant, evocative poem. From the sweet smell of dance floor fog (so intriguing!) to heart monitors and respirators in the living room... truth is, love knits it all together.

    1. Love, and joy, and sorrow I think, Fran. The NICU sounds and the living room sounds are forever entwined, as I believe the former prepared me to handle the latter in some ways. I want to do more mining soon, perhaps in a Tuesday slice. Your memories inspire me to write my own!

  4. You've woven all of these memories together so well. Looks like you have so many slices to expand on. Then again, maybe they fit better together, in snippets, like a comfy patchwork quilt.

    1. I thought the same thing as I wrote them, Alice--how many of these "small moments" can I expand on, at a later date. I almost feel a sense of urgency to record even the snippets, as the years go by and the file cabinets in my mind multiply and fill to overflowing...