Writing Exercise: Mnemonic Time Travel (+ Bonus Example!)


Anne Seaworthy may be a published author, but I’m just a college freshman finally taking my first ever course dedicated to Creative Writing. The first week flew by with blizzards of reading I actually didn’t dread plus lots of writing exercises to wash it all down. Not really exercises, but little bursts of freedom, spontaneous sprints of flight above the general tar pit that is boring classes (ahem, Math, I’m talking to you.)

One of the first writing assignments of class was to describe a real event that we couldn’t possibly remember firsthand. Subjects could range from our parents’ marriage to the Big Bang to the assassination of Julius Cesar – they just had to be real historical events or known family occurrences that took place before we were born. We had ten minutes to write.

The context I wrote about is probably obvious to the people who were involved. That said, I want to emphasize that the characters in this piece, while based loosely on real people, are entirely fictional with regards to their caricaturized obnoxiousness and otherwise undesirable descriptions. If you recognize your own personality in this piece, you are most likely NOT my lovely sweet Grandma, effectual Mom, or manageably-obnoxious Dad. 🙂

I’ll call it…



The honey-gnarled fingers grip the soft white hand, clearly intent on insulating it from any untoward advances on my part. I can tell the young lady’s mother wants to take her to the Jewish New Year service and back home again, an iron chain always around her neck so she can’t turn her head and see escape opportunities. I can tell her mother doesn’t like me.

I just don’t care.

“Hello,” I say just as cheerily as you please.

“Hello,” she responds uncertainly. “Are you here for the Yom Kippur service?”

“No, I’m just the caterer. Clearly I’m much too well-dressed for temple.” I indicate my mismatched jacket, slacks, and running shoes.

The pretty young lady laughs – a sort of choked laugh, like a bird whose wings have been clipped was trying to sing across the night to her hatchlings.

Granny tugs the sleeve of the lady’s turquoise dress. “They’re already blowing the shofar,” she frets. “I want to see Rachel Stein give the drosh.”

The aquamarine eyes pierce me with innocent kindness. “Why don’t you come sit with us?”

Her mother is pulling that gossamer sleeve with all her might. I want to spend three hours confined in a stuffy room by her side like I want mustard on my ice cream. Still, this might be the beginning of something, this woman – oh, the pretty one, for goodness’ sake, not the old bat fumbling for her ear drops.

So I smile and take the woman’s other hand. Like two jailors me and Granny lead her into the atrium, where a geezer in a groovy suit stands blowing into a ram’s horn.

“My name is David, by the way.”

She has dimples, too.


Image credits in order of appearance:

By Terabass – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11848016

By Nerium_oleander20090811_025.jpg: Bff derivative work: Bff (Nerium_oleander20090811_025.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Jozef Israëls [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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