12 Minute Memory

Note: This post is in response to the Word Press Weekly Challenge. The prompt states:


You’ll need an egg timer or a some sort of stopwatch for this challenge. Set a countdown timer for 10 minutes, choose one of the writing prompts below, and just start writing. Whatever you do, don’t stop for ten minutes. Keep your fingers typing. Write what you remember. It need not be accurate — it’syour memory. Do not judge. You got this.

  • Your earliest memory. Capture every detail. Document the quality of the memory — is it as sharp as HDTV or hazy and ethereal, enveloped in fog? Write for 10 minutes. Go.
  • Your happiest memory. Tell us the story of the happiest memory of your life. What happened? Get it all down, no detail left behind. The clock is ticking — get writing.
  • Your worst memory. Record the pain, the anger, the shame, the terror, the hurt. You’ve got ten minutes to relive it. Keep your fingers typing.
  • Freestyle memory. Write I remember at the top of your post, hit start on the timer, and write about the first memory that comes to mind. Ten minutes. Don’t stop.”

I gave myself 12 minutes on the timer, and started writing. I stopped when the timer chimed, and added these notes, and the Weekly Challenge prompt after. Find other entries here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/writing-challenge-remember/

This is the post, NO edits, no changes, and exactly 12 minutes. Fun challenge, and great way to highlight a very special memory.


The Delta, pretty much as "I remember" it. Image: www.snugharbor.com

The Delta, pretty much as “I remember” it.
Image: http://www.snugharbor.com

The memory is still so clear to me, yet the fractured pieces come back in hazy images and abbreviated flashbacks. My younger brother, sister and I were living with my father and great-grandmother, for a brief time, while my parents tried to figure out what they would do with their marriage. My brother and I shared a bed, while my sister slept in ha crib nearby. Our bed was pushed up against a window that looked out on Nini’s fantastic yard and garden— a place where we created magical worlds by day, and where a mocking bird sang to us by night.

I suppose it should have been an unhappy time, and maybe it was; but, all I remember is joy—the feeling of being loved and incredible things happening, seemingly every day. My father, was Peter Pan to my great-grandmother’s strong, but loving discipline. He brought play time and silliness, she brought wonderful meals, clean plates and hands, and a generous hugs. I felt surrounded by all the things a child needs most, despite the turmoil that was certainly brewing outside that cocoon… as my parents hashed out custody and terms.

I remember that my father liked to watch the high speed boat races on the Delta, and would take us there on hot summer afternoons, that dragged into warm steamy nights. I remember riding our bikes there, for what seemed like a hundred miles. I was eight at the time, and have no idea how far it really was, but the ride involved crossing several busy intersections, and leaving the city behind— until we were out in the country, surrounded by the vast farmland and corporate fields of Del Monte, in the San Joaquin Valley. I remember that both my brother and whined about the distance; we begged to stop and go back. Our legs burned and our arms hurt, and dad just urged us on.

I remember that we stopped beside a field and my father snatched a small watermelon straight from the vines and smashed it open on the hot road. None of us cared that the juice dripped all over our clothes and down our small faces and hands. Dad laughed, and we thought he was a hero for finding the perfect snack to make the ride worthwhile. It was probably the sweetest mellon I ever ate.

Later, we reached the races and were thrilled by the loud engines and excitement of the crowd. Boats shooting across the water like space ships on water. We cheered and yelled and I remember feeling so special to get to see such an exciting event. Dad knew one of the boat owners and my brother and I got to sit in the boat for only a moment and pretend we were Evil Kneivel. What a moment in an eight year old’s life.

I remember the sun setting over the Delta and the beautiful pink sky, the sound of insects and the crowds beginning to break up. The day is seared liked that sunset in my mind. Dad found a friend to take us back in his pick up, and he threw our bikes in the back, loaded us back there as well, and held us tight as we drove back toward home. I watched as the water, and then the fields, and eventually the day all vanished into memory. But when it comes back, it is still as clear and brilliant and pink and juicy and magical as it was that day— but all the more meaningful because it is what I have left, of my father.

Note: These memories are precious gems; my father was killed when I was ten.

Also: While I wrote this for Weekly Challenge, I am sharing it on Emily and Ashley’s Blog Hop. They’ve had a grand summer thing going. Check out other posts on either of their sites.


About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Blog, Blogging, Death of parent, how blogs work, Life, Musings, My world, Nature, Tales From the Motherland, Wonderful Things, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to 12 Minute Memory

  1. Katalina4 says:

    Wonderful – so vivid, so many shimmering images…


  2. Wonderful, Dawn. You captured so much in 12 minutes of writing. I love the juicy watermelon memory. That’s the kind of stuff that stays with you.


    • Thanks! It was a fun challenge… I mulled it over, and imagined what I would write about. The twelve minutes flew by… the suggestion is to rework the post and expand in the next few days. There is more I could say, but sometimes, less is more. 😉 Thanks os much for the kind support.


  3. Wow, you wrote that in twelve minutes? Beautiful post, Dawn. Great memory.


    • Thanks Bill. Twelve minutes exactly. Of course, when I saw the prompt, I took a little time to think about where I would go. That memory was there, and comes up intermittently for 40+ years now… the rest was easy. Thanks friend.


  4. Mike Lince says:

    What a wonderful way to remember your father. And we see part of your world a bit differently through the eyes of a child. Thank you for sharing a great memory. – Mike


  5. Pingback: 12 Minute Memory

  6. Patti Winker says:

    So touching. Thank you for sharing this treasure of a memory with us. The bittersweet feelings certainly come through in your words. What a loving tribute to your father and your great-grandmother. Thank you.


  7. The Waiting says:

    This was beautiful, Dawn. I am extremely impressed that it only took you 12 minutes to write this! That was a charmed watermelon.


    • There were more than12 minutes of thought, before typing… which memory, how long to type, etc… but once that timer started, the fingers just danced on the keys. And I knew when the time was up, so I winded up as the timer went down. Really enjoyed the prompt, which also says you can go back and flesh it out some more. I don’t think I will. As for the watermelon: for AGES, I thought we’d be arrested for “stealing” that melon! But oh, it was so good. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback, Emily. Much appreciated.


  8. Soapsuds says:

    So, so beautiful! Your writing truly touched me. Sitting here in the hot afternoon sun of Port Townsend, it is easy to remember so many hot Stockton summer nights and your father’s zest for life. xoxo


  9. Kourtney Heintz says:

    What a cool assignment. It definitely produced some amazing insight. 🙂



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s