Yes, another opportunity to check my ego at the door and take a cold hard look at the issues with my writing. In so doing, I realized just how much of a flashback freak I am.
Funny thing is, when I’m talking I really do make a lot of references to the recent past. I’m starting to understand why my husband cuts me off as I’m babbling about my news of the day.
“Focus,” he likes to say when I detour to a sidebar or back story.
I’ve always been fascinated by oral storytelling. It truly is an art form. I used to think I was a heck of a storyteller. Mostly because my younger sister Golda always told me I was. When I’m sketching a verbal picture for her, the girl can actually see it. Her eyes widen and whatever I’m recounting seems to come alive before her eyes. Sometimes you can even catch her eyeballs scanning said image.
Golda allows me to go into delicious details. And probably because she’s such a supportive audience, my tales have the freedom to unravel more vividly than with any other listener.
It’s the opposite scenario with my older sisters. When we get together, the storytelling battle royal commences and the competition to be heard is fierce. Everyone talks at the same time, and if you can’t keep up…oh well. What usually happens is they interrupt, force a subject change, drown out my voice—you name it. Because of birth order (or passive tendencies), I have to settle for telling tales that are abridged or ill formed.
And then there’s my husband. “Focus,” he’d say. “What happened next?”
But I don’t take this to heart. Number one, I admit I do go off on a tangent a lot of times. And secondly, I know my hubby isn’t one for suspense. He just wants to know the upshot. What settles him is if you preface your “unexpected blackout” story by assuring him, “The lights are now back on.”
Flashbacking will be a tough habit to break—mostly because it’s the way my mind works. The trouble is, I feel I’m shortchanging the listener if I don’t inform them about the history of something. I always feel like there’s a back story to the story. And sometimes there’s a back story to the back story...
Somebody stop me!