Sit down in front of your notebook. Close your eyes for a few seconds and take yourself away. Picture your happiest memory; your highest point and warmest feeling. What was around you? How did you come to be there? Were you with anyone? Who was around? Why were you happy? How did it feel? Get it down. Whether you were on the beach, your arms outstretched embracing the wind as it blows through your hair, sprinting down the street in a rainstorm with the love of your life, or opening an envelope, your family looking at you with bated breath. Capture your feelings and how they came to be, bottle them into the page.
Now write about the last time time you cried. Did you cry in front of anyone or were you alone? Where were you? What made you crack? Tell your story. Let it flood out from your memory, down your arm, your hand, through the pen and splash out onto the page. Know that your notebook is your closest friend. It will keep your secrets. Hide it under your mattress if you will, learn to break the seal on what you’re afraid to write. Introduce yourself to your notebook by writting down 10 things nobody knows about you; then 10 secrets you’ve promised to keep; and the top 10 lies you’ve told. This is your initiation. Learn to detach yourself from your bonds of secrecies when you write. Your writing becomes an infallible piece of art, detached from your own world of promises.
You’re warmed up. Now lie. Jot down two big fat lies and a truth. Note down little details. For example, I had:
- Once I leaned back on my chair and into my math’s teacher’s crotch. Twice. Without realising: In year nine; my friends were laughing and I didn’t know why; after the first time they told me and I slid down my chair embarassed then stretched back again, hence the second time.
- On my first shift working at a theatre I almost spilled wine on Arlene Philips: It was a private event for choreographers and contacts seeing the annual performance of a dance show; she was the first person I had ever served; tripped on something behind the bar but I just saved it; I don’t think she noticed.
- My mother once left me trapped in the car for two hours: after doing the shop; I was four-years-old; I banged on the door; it wasn’t locked but I didn’t have the strength to use the door handle.
Tell them to someone. Get them to deduce which one is true and which is a lie. Pretend you’re on Would I Lie To You.
Spoiler: No.1 was my truth (And I’m still mortfied!). As an appalling liar, I like to use white lies. On my first shift I did almost spill wine but it wasn’t on Arlene Philips (although she was around!), and I was once trapped in a car because I wasn’t strong enough to open it but my mother was outside laughing. My point is, if you can’t think of where to begin with writing, use what you know. But then distort it. Make it believable, bizarre, fun and unique.