I write fiction in one notebook. And when I have a thought about something outside of my story I write it down in another notebook. I call this, for lack of a better term, my creative non-fiction note book. When I’m stuck I go to my non-fiction. I write what I’ve already experienced and must go back and rediscover in my memory.
This past week I’ve been writing about my two older brothers and specifically a scene with one of them where we found a rock that had split in two. I wrote about the corner of the backyard where we found it. Then later in the week, my father, without knowing about my writing subject, said he found something, and brought down an old picture of my older brother and me, standing in that corner of the backyard I’d been writing about.
The picture was different than my memory. But I don’t think I will change that in my story. My memory feels more real.
But it isn’t the details that are the most affecting, either from my memory or the picture, it’s what I felt. It’s the joy I had of playing in the backyard with my brother, and it’s the joy that returns looking at the photograph of us.
Two memories, two brothers, two pieces of one rock, but one shared and treasured happiness.