Building Blocks (Déjà vu)

As humans, once in a while we have déjà vu occurrences that jog our memory.  While these occurrences may give rise to our writing thoughts, think about how the characters in your stories will react to a déjà vu occurrence.

It had been quite a while since I had taken the Metro into Washington D.C.  Just parking at the station brought back memories.  However, a déjà vu occurrence is not just ‘I parked here before’; but a strong sensation about a ‘life altering’ event that has been experienced in the past.  My déjà vu occurrence happened when the Metro stopped in Alexandria.

I grew up ‘residing’, then working in the family retail store in Baltimore, Md.  These were the days long before computer ordering; and even those things called cell phones.  Representatives from specialty suppliers traveled the East Coast, and would periodically come to our store; products would be mailed to us.  Every two weeks the salesman for a major wholesaler in Alexandria would stop in our store to take orders; to be delivered by truck a week later. What a fantastic job it would be to become a traveling salesman!  When I got to see the Alexandria warehouse/office in the late 1959, it reinforced my professional aspirations, and I asked for a job.  Darn, they did not hire 12 year olds as traveling salesman.  However, by the time I was 18, other career pursuits had overtaken that career goal.

Fast forward to the early-1990s.  I had transferred civilian jobs within the Defense Department, and began working in Alexandria.  Soon I would discover that the multi-story building I now worked in had been constructed on the very spot the supplier’s warehouse/office had once stood.  It was déjà vu on that day in the early-1990s…and déjà vu a few days ago when the Metro stopped across from the building.

While I continued my Metro ride in the ‘today’, my mind was focused on past events.  How can déjà vu affect the actions of the characters in our stories?  Would the expressed current attitude or plans of a character suddenly change?


When you are dealing with something that is uncomfortable,

your mind subconsciously retreats to a time in your past

that was comfortable.  Memories are the only truly personal

thing we have in this life; with time, so much more vivid

they become.

I was walking along the streets heading for a meeting, briefcase in one hand, and the other gripping closed the collar of my business dress coat.

Wool dress coats may be warm, but they require scarves, and I had failed to grab mine as I left the office.  It was a high quality scarf that had been given to me as a gift years before.  The quality bespoke of the woman who gave it to me.  Just looking at it brought back hints of memories I had long ago stored in the back recesses of my mind.  A closed chapter, journey complete; but journeys are never forgotten.

Through a Stranger’s Eyes, © Steven S. Walsky, 2005.


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


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