In her book Thinking About Memoir, Abigail Thomas reminds us: “Details. Specifics. Eliminate all abstract nouns.” Of course, this rule holds true for writing fiction as much as memoir. Whatever you write, use specific details to craft a full, believable world.
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“…the bearded merchants in furred robes conversing quietly as they picked their way along the slimy stones above the water, the fishermen unloading their catch, coopers pounding and shipmakers hammering and clamsellers singing and shipmasters bellowing, and beyond all the silent, shining bay.”
Did you ever play Truth or Dare when you were young? It was probably thrilling, testing boundaries and building trust among your friends. As you said and did wilder and wilder things, your relationships grew stronger and the world opened up to new possibilities. Yet we grow out of Truth or Dare eventually, finding the dares childish, the truths too painful to admit. We learn to guard ourselves too deeply, developing layers of protection.
As a relief from my freeway commute in the mornings, I’ll sometimes get off and head west toward the Pacific coastal range, past ranches and pastures, over rolling hills and through redwood groves.