Building Blocks (mental anniversaries)


The majority of our life’s building blocks are ‘mental anniversaries’.  Not because of some normal human celebration moment, such as a birthday or wedding, but the building block was a significant, standout event.  Of all our life’s events, these mental anniversaries are probably more likely to be used as ‘quoted’ antidotes in our writing.  For example, once again the fictitious protagonist Dave in my novel Through a Stranger’s Eyes used two mental anniversary building blocks as his own.

The first took place fifty years ago last March:

“…one day in Diver Ed I pulled up to an intersection to make a right turn ((from a side street onto a major road)) and because of a hedge and a parked truck I was not able to see the traffic coming from the left, so I gunned it.  My Driver Ed teacher tried to wedge his 5’-6”, 230+ pound body under the dashboard.”

I passed the course (?); however, my parents found out and I was sent to a commercial driving school.  Nevertheless, I was happy that it was in the previous year that I had taken the regular high school class taught by the Driver Ed instructor. 🙂

Our second mental anniversary building block example took place fifty years ago last month, and once again that Dave character ‘plagiarizes’ from my life:

“Then, sometimes double dating is useful.  As a teenager, the first time I drove the family car on a date, I doubled.  I took a girl whose friends introduced us.  They had convinced the girl that I would ask her to the Junior Prom.  So here the four of us are in the family car parked on a tree grove hill that overlooked the expressway; real romantic no, but secluded yes…it was my friend’s idea, not mine.  My concern was not wrecking the car while maneuvering around this local lover’s lane without the lights on; least of which was being the idiot in the movie that misses the edge, and four screaming teenagers go down the embankment into the swamp, wherein lives the ‘date killing’ monster.

Anyway, no sooner do I put the car in park, my friend puts his date in parking mode and they are pressing lips.  My date slides over and I put my arm around her shoulders, I look into her eyes, move my face closer, then realize I don’t want to do this.  Geeze, this is crazy.  Sure I want to kiss her, but I do not want to take her to the Junior Prom.  I had my heart set on a girl out of my reach, but I still held out hope.  My date looks at me, questioning my hesitation, takes the initiative and clings to me like our lips were joined at birth.  Damn…this was nice, but…thankfully my friend steps in and saves the day.  “OH SHIT, don’t move, DON’T move!”

In his exuberance of the moment he had slid off the seat…and he had slid his leg under the front bench seat.  Now his contortion had wedged his leg straight under the seat, and any movement by his date or us in the front seat was sending pain to his knee.  By the time he was free, the moment was lost, at least not his leg, and I was rescued.  I never went to the junior prom; the object of my desire went with someone else, and so did the girl I was with that night.”

I purposely did not give additional location information because, because, as discussed in the May 19, 2015 Building Blocks (110 West North Ave, Baltimore), changing landscape and what your readers may personally know about the area can have a positive or negative influence on their view of your written words.  Today for example, the location of that wonderful double date event has been cleared, and a large chain store now sits on the treeless, leveled hilltop overlooking the expressway.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.







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