April 19, 2006
Think of 3 scenes from your life-inflection points from which you defined things as before and after. Describe the moments and why they are important. My theory is this:
If you are a man, you will describe the overall scene often including your geographical location. Then you will move smaller until you get to yourself. At this point you might throw in a few details: the smell of the summer air, the crackle of the car radio... When you explain the before and after you will tell it as a story.It's just a theory, but in my tests so far it's been accurate. I don't know why.
If you are a woman you will start with the personal details, the sweater you were wearing, the feeling of the wind on your face, and then move outward. You will gloss over details of place but will locate the memory precisely in your emotional history. When you explain the before and after you will tell what the moment meant ignoring narrative.
3 Inflection Points (without the descriptions):
1. It is 1979. August in Texas. I am in the corner of Tim Almond's living room on Live Oak Lane. The sofas and chairs have been pushed aside to make a ring. 10 boys are chanting "fight, fight, fight!" Bill Melton is standing on the other side of the ring without a shirt on cursing me at the top of his lungs daring me to hit him. Angry and scared as I have ever been, I step forward.
2. I am on the 53rd floor of the Citicorp Building in an office looking out onto the Chrysler Building. It is January 2, 1990. A secretary tells me I have a phone call and the person on the other end is speaking in Spanish. It is my uncle. When he hears my voice he can barely speak. He tells me my mother and brother are dead.
3. New York City, the Lower East Side many years later. I have a dinner with a girl named Jenn. We had met the night before. We talk through dinner. We walk around the city. Hours pass. We end up at the Cloister Cafe in the garden. Flowers from a tree are falling onto our table. We have been talking for 8 hours now. A strap on her blouse falls off her shoulder. She is still talking but I am not listening anymore. I reach over and replace the strap with my index finger. I say, "I'm sorry I couldn't concentrate." She smiles.