Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing, for me, is that of stepping into the creative process and pushing out the story from the inside. Sometimes a story can be hidden deep inside, wrapped in the dusty cloths of memory, or filed in a cabinet under “Useless Data”. My job as a writer is to sift through the minutae and retrieve the meaningful pieces of a conversation, a setting, the clothing a person wore, or the aromas resident to a distant land.
When I was a young teen, my friend and I would spend whole afternoons up in the attic of my childhood home. The attic of that house in Northern Michigan was neither heated nor cooled and, for some reason this didn’t deter us from sifting through boxes, bags, drawers and trunks of our family’s past. On one such occasion, we pulled out Mom’s wedding dress which she had not preserved. I was in awe. It did not matter that the dress was in a terrific state of disrepair. I could only run my hands over the slippery satin, oblivious to the fact that it could never be worn. I was, after all, a young girl with idealistic dreams of garden weddings and flowers and, of course! Mr. Right. The dress stirred up giggles and hopes. Plans for our futures.
Embarking on this avocation as a writer, and I’m back up in the attic of my life. I’m sifting through books not treasured enough to keep in my bookshelves, clothing that is back in style again (two words: leg warmers). The clutter from my past stirs the sweetest of memories. Bitter memories have long been eclipsed with love. Somehow the minutae matters in the making of a great story.
Come to think of it, minutae always matters.