I mentioned before that I'm reading a book about writing called Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg. There are some exercises in it and I thought I'd do some of them here on this blog.
"Think of some event that happened in your life that made a real emotional impact on you. It can be any emotion - anger, fear, sadness, nostalgia - but let yourself remember the event fully, so that you can feel the emotion all over again. Set a timer for ten minutes. Write from that place of feeling. Draw on all your senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. Do not work up to how this event occurred; do not consider what it meant or how any aspect of it might appear to other people; just jump right in the middle, with it happening to you."
Here's my exercise. I did clean it up a little.
It was my first time spending a summer away from home. We were on an island, a private golf club, 25 of us first time caddies. We'd seen the shirts on the older campers around the camp. It was the same white shirt with a pimply green monster on the back with the words "I met the legend". When we asked what it meant. They said not to worry, we'd find out soon enough. There were whispers here and there of what that meant. Bear, a broad shouldered and freckled redhead from Andover, said he heard our belongings and our beds would be torn up and thrown out on the 10th fairway. Skeelo from Revere said we'd be jumped by the older campers. The only thing all the stories had in common was that it would happen at night. The night did eventually come, towards the end of the summer. Gomes, our short, round Latino camp director, called all first-years out to the flag pole. He was wearing aw dark rain coat and was carrying a flash light. The air was cool but dry. No sign of rain. Why the raincoat? We had just finished dinner. No one spoke. Gomes pointed his flashlight into the darkness off the 10th fairway. We marched single file through into the dark toward the scrub brush. We followed him to the start of a narrow path. The path pitched down into the dark and continued straight for a ways with scrub brush along both sides waiting to grab you. We'd all been in the brush before to shag lost balls and left marked up. Gomes shined his light down down the path and told us to walk, one at a time. I walked slow and to let my eyes adjust. The branches There were dark figures along the path. I picked up the pace. I was running now. They reached for me. I shook past them somehow. I reached the end of the path. There was a hooded figure carrying a pink drink pitcher from the mess hall. He handed me a cup and said drink. It was thick. Bitter. Sour. Spicy. Hot. There were chunks of something you had to chew to get down. When I was done I moved on to where the other guys were standing. Gomes led us all to the back single file toward the camp. As we approached I noticed it was quiet back at camp. As we got closer I could see the rec room was empty. The tv was off. The constant tick-tocking of a ping pong game was missing. Where was everybody? I expected our beds to be strewn across the fairway, but everything seemed to be how we left it. Gomes led us to the back of the mess hall. The lights were on inside and we could hear a commotion. He opened the door and told us to go in. The entire rest of the camp was sitting there. All the older campers. All the counselors. They stood up and clapped. We smiled. That's it? It was over. No beating. No destruction of property. They handed us our own monster shirts and we wore them proudly. We'd met the legend, and that's just what it was. It was our turn now to relay the story the following year, to build on it where we could, to scare the bejesus out of all those little bastards who'd be coming after us, and see them through.