Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 21

I'm sure all writers pull from their own lives and experiences for at least a small part of their writing content, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes knowingly and in precise detail. Using what we know can ground our writing and add believability (apologies if that isn't a real world but it sounded right).

This month's exercise is to look into your own experiences and memories to find something unusual, or bizarre, an event or detail that was out of the ordinary, and embroider that memory or detail into a piece of writing.

My own memory happened on a winter's night on a railway bridge. My car skidded on black ice and piled into a lamp-post, thankfully preventing us from tumbling off the bridge onto the train line below. My then boyfriend was belted in but the force of the collision smacked him into the windscreen. I remember him screaming and then silence. Almost immediately, he went into shock.

The passing drivers all pulled over and helped. One drove to the local pub and called an ambulance. Another, an off duty paramedic, helped me treat my boyfriend. She told me that I had to keep him warm. He was dressed in a thin jacket on a frosty night and trembling, partly from the cold but also from the shock.

All I had to hand was a box of pantomime costumes in the back of my car so we wrapped him in those. To this day, I have a brightly coloured, mental image of my boyfriend sat in the back of the ambulance shivering with a dame's costume clutched around his shoulders as the paramedics strapped a neck brace onto him.

Car crash and pantomime costumes - that's my memory. What's yours?


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