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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

Memory Play

My friend Masha has been sorting through old family slide carousels. She has sent me several photos that she took of the slides that include my family, as our parents were best of friends. And now, after many years, Masha and I have reconnected and re-energized our friendship!


What is so great about receiving these fuzzy pictures is that I have never seen them before. These photos were not part of our family albums. The photo here is of Masha on the left, my sister Betty on the right, and me in the center. I have no memory of dressing up like that as a child. I clearly had an idea of what I wanted to wear!


The most recent writing prompt for my playwriting class was entitled “The Dress Up Exercise.” The instructions were to look in our closets and put together an outfit that evokes a character. After many days of wondering what I was going to do with this prompt, I then got a bit carried away. I ended up creating seven costumes/characters including accessories and props. I guess my childhood interest in accessorizing has not died, though you wouldn’t know it from my usual attire!


These characters then became the basis for writing a short play. Using memories and experiences from living in Louisiana, I wrote “Mardi Gras Murder.” I must admit I had a lot of fun writing a mystery play which was such a departure from my usual writing style. I allowed myself to step out and try something new. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done this if I hadn’t been given the prompt by our teacher.


Sometimes we need a prompt, a nudge, or a memory to help us step out of our routines, our normal ways of doing things. At first it can be uncomfortable and a challenge, and we may resist. But if we do try something new, it may end up being fun and result in new discoveries about ourselves or lead to new creative endeavors.




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