Writing the story of your life is a daunting task. Youâ€™ve had a million experiences with so much to say, so much to teach, so much to write. How is this writing task ever accomplished? I might just have the answer for you.
My writing classes are all about writing vignettes (pronounced: vin-yetsâ€™). An old sounding word, yes, but itâ€™s the stuff of great storytelling.Â A vignette is a short story without the backstory. Itâ€™s a snapshot without context. A close-up that speaks for itself. Itâ€™s short and sweet and complete. Â
Hereâ€™s one example from my own life story. This vignette was fun to write because itâ€™s about Lenny, one of Â my brothers. In Zephyrhills, Florida, they call him Doc Whalen, but heâ€™ll always be Lenny to me. Born less than a year apart (Iâ€™m the OLDEST, by the way), we have history. I could go on about our adventures until the cows come home, but this vignette, is a microcosm of our young life together.Â
Â Lennyâ€™s Perfume Gift
Lenny and I were less than a year apart, so as you might imagine, weâ€™ve had a ton of adventures through the years. One I remember occurred when we were 3rd and 2nd graders. You may have already guessed that I’m the older and wiser of the two of us. Anyway, Susan Rondle was a girl he had a crush on from our school, Immaculate Conception (try explaining that name to your ten year old Protestant friends).Â
Having a generous heart, he wanted to get Susan a gift for their first Communion, but we didnâ€™t really have a budget for gifts back then. So we looked at my dressing table and decided to give her a bottle of perfume from my collection. Â Lenny selected a really fancy bottle that was partly full. We poured the contents of a few other perfumes into the fancy one until it was full and looked new. We saw no problem with this since they were all the same goldish/yellow color.Â
I donâ€™t remember how the gift was received. We moved shortly after that, so Susan was never the big love of Lenâ€™s life. All I remember is working together to make a gift for someone. It felt pretty good.
And the irony of it all, as I look backâ€”I really didnâ€™t own any perfume. It was the weaker version called toilet water. How fitting!
Be sure to contact me if you are interested in joining a class in writing your story or for assistance in self-publishing your book. 623.466.5067 orÂ [email protected]