|Our lawn mower was a little bigger than this one.|
Now at the time, there weren't MP3 players. There was just the radio (or my CD player but those things always skipped when you were on the lawnmower.) As I was mowing the lawn this past week I realized that many of the songs on my iPod were the same as those I listened to on the radio when I was younger and mowing the lawn.
There's something about doing the same chore, with the same weather, looking at the same scenery, with the same songs as accompaniment, that just takes you back. As the 90's and early 00's songs rolled on through my iPod I could distinctly recall other places I'd been during those songs (School dances, softball games, long drives for vacation, hanging out with friends). It's amazing how much one can recall with just the slight trigger.
Of course I relate this to writing. I think it's powerful when an author uses the seemingly smallest, insignificant events to have a character recall something about their past. It's a great way to learn more about the character and feels natural, because we all do it. Memories are a powerful thing. They've stood the test of time.
As I'm doing revisions on one story and finishing up the first draft of another, I'm trying to make a conscious effort to let my characters remember the past. Even if I don't write it down, my characters are three dimensional when I know about their past because it motivates what they do now and what they want for the future.
What triggers memories for you? Smells, sounds, places, people? Have you had a moment like this recently? Do your characters recall their past?