As I continue to study Writing the life of your story by Carmel Bird, I feel I'm already edging towards the writing of my memoir (or many) with more confidence and knowledge in how to shape my stories. These exercises in remembering life events through free journal writing may not be the perfect, most well-written pieces, and I don't think they're meant to be; instead they provide valuable lessons for using your thoughts and feelings as a basis for a full length work, work that would be edited and re-drafted until of course you were completely happy.
Some of these 'Dear Carmel' writing exercises ( well all of them thus-far), have given me inspiration for my memoir construction, they have even perhaps shown me what could be my guiding metaphor.
Guiding metaphor's are I suppose a common theme for your writing, something that links all your stories together, structuring them as a constant reference point, pulling everything together.
Here's Day 6s entry on remembering the shop
I remember the shop I bought, it turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. At the time of course I thought it was the best thing ever, I had plans; big plans and perhaps that was too ambitious? It was called 'The Family Lolly Shop' and was centred in town, convenient I thought, great exposure I expected. The walls of the shop were lined with clear plastic storage containers offering an endless array of colourful pick-your own lollies.
The shop had potential I remember thinking as I looked around the empty floor space, how hollow it felt as I clanked over the squeaky floorboards inspecting every small detail, every product, every shelf, every customer. Dragging a plastic bag and tearing it off, I was ready to trial some of these goodies caught behind their plastic screens. As I lifted the latches, scooping mixtures of glossy chocolate-coated bullets, bright yellow bananas and soft sugary--coated mint leaves, I continued my way around the walls until I was convinced this business was for me.
I bought the shop of course, as I said it had potential. I would re-name the shop 'The Candy Cove,' a cove of endless wonders in local and British confectionary, where in big square and glass containers were candy-watches and bracelets for the kids, gum-balls and gobstoppers in an assortment of sizes, the larger ones paralysing your jaw with their bulk, creating silky salvia that filled the cavity of your mouth with no where to go. The Raspberry drops were generously coated in confectioner's sugar, a old-time favourite along with the colourful blend of Dolly-mix.
The shop was renovated, new glass counter displays housing ranges of chocolates including individual moulded shapes of dark and milk chocolate bears, butterflies, mice and cats. There were chocolate-cups filled with cappuccino and liqueur flavouring's and sugar coated almonds for wedding bonbonnieres.
The once empty floor space was now filled with the presence of ice-cream freezers, and half-cut wine-barrels with Darrel-Lea liquorice packs and tins of Castlemaine Rock candy bursting over the edges. There are tables for sitting at, relaxing over a coffee freshly brewed from the new coffee maker installed, while the roof is lined with a display of bountiful piñata's in the shape of donkey's, horses, butterflies, cars, trucks and even mermaids that have the kids mesmerised for choice. There were cake tins for sale and hire, square, round, oblong and shapes of Bob-the-Builder and Bugs-bunny, Dora-the-explorer; endless. Walls were lined with party-favours, candles, lolly-bags and sparklers. There were cake decorating supplies of piping tubes and bags, rolling pins, cake-boards, pillars and stands, soft-icing and almond icing packs, cake mixes; everything.
Why the shop didn't make money is beyond me. I kept telling myself, if the same shop was in the heart of Melbourne it would've made a killing, anywhere else but here and it would've succeeded.
The Candy Cove is still there, it has new owners, they don't have the same passion I had, they don't have the same vision, the same drive. It's not mine anymore, it sent me broke and I wonder how the shop ever survives?
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