I don't read many memoirs but one that has stuck in my mind was the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
I made a point of going to her talk/book signing at the local Barnes & Noble. I wanted to see the person who had survived a childhood I couldn't even imagine.
I know I took notes but I can't seem to find them. A few of her comments still stand out in my mind.
As you start writing more memories will come and the more you write the deeper you will go with those memories.
Your memory is what is important. If you don't quite remember exactly what was said or happened it is okay, put it down to the best of your memory. This is your memoir.
A couple of months ago a memory was jogged by a place I visited. You can read that post here. I wrote that memory again with the first prompt below. This time I went further into the memory and came up with some feelings and thoughts I hadn't remembered before. Here's what I wrote:
There was a large auditorium with people spread about - a family reunion or event of some kind. I don't remember a lot of noise like a band or anything. There was a big metal heater hanging in each corner. They looked like cages and I was scared to death of them. I was afraid snakes or monsters would come out. I remember trying to get in the very middle of the room so I'd be as far away from them as possible. Then I turned and turned so I could keep an eye on them.
I can feel my little self watching those heaters. I seemed to know that if I said anything I would be scoffed at or perhaps I had already tried that. I had to guard myself from those scary boxes and whatever was inside.
I did three different locations for this prompt and have many more to do. I have so many wisps of memory.
Seven new prompts to get your memories flowing:
Do you have a sketchy memory of a place you wish you could remember better?
Describe a time you came face-to-face with racism.
Describe your favorite swimming pool/hole and a memorable event that happened there.
Describe a gift you made/bought for your mother. Do the same prompt again for your father and each of your siblings.
Describe the kitchen in your childhood home. What was your favorite meal?
Write about lost keys, wallet, purse, etc.
Write about playing board games.