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I’ve wanted to write a memoir for a long time.  Much of my fiction has previously centered around true events from my life.  But I have no idea how to go about this, and I’m highly structured (in some respects—don’t laugh if you know me and have seen me dancing).  I want to have one project finished before starting a new project from scratch.  I also want to do the National Novel Writing Month in November.  So I’m pushing myself to finish up one project, even as I’m focused and thinking about another.

 Poetry, however, comes anytime she wants.

I’ve been reading Natalie Goldberg’s Old Friend from Far Away.  (currently a bargain book at Amazon *wink] This has been beautiful and fun.  It’s filled with prompts and exercises geared toward the ‘practice’ of writing, which would lead to the development of a theme for a memoir.  I’m loving it.  “Dishes” (18) says, “Tell me about a time you washed the dishes.  Go.  Ten Minutes.”  Here’s what I filtered out.

 Washing Dishes

 The smell of burnt grease and citrus
tang, scalding water and crusted
food; I loved washing dishes in my

 mother’s domain, the security of
busily humming away to the secret
stash of songs on my walkman, the

 setting right to wrong, the order
made from chaos, the holy rendering
of what was right to the silverware

 drawer, all the spoons carefully
cradled, the forks tine down. If I
played my music loud enough, I

 could ignore my parents in the other
room, their quiet conversation under
the hum of the television crime

 show siren. I pretended I did not
know it was me they discussed, all
my evils and wrongs. I straightened

 the knives, blades turned carefully
right, scrubbed pans clean of grime.