Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday: The Insidiousness of Memory


I'm making some revisions to In the Memory House, and as my intrepid protagonist finds her room, I realize my own memories have spilled onto the page.  Have you ever read "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman? You should. (It's rather creepy.)

I covered poor Kelsey's (the protag) room in yellow wallpaper.

The walls were hung with wallpaper—not a plain yellow, either. Upon closer inspection, she noted a subtle pattern of darker vertical lines, but the lines were made of a tiny, repeated shape. The shape reminded Kelsey of corn cobs. She was in the corn-cob room. Absurd. Her fingers touched the wall and found a slight texture, small bumps where the shapes rose from floor to ceiling. 

And as another character says:

“Yellow. Yech. It’s a rather mustardy shade, don’t you think?”

So there it is--my subconscious giving me details for a spooky room in a spookier house. Thanks Fred.

Have ever accidentally dropped details into a story from fragments of memory?

7 comments:

James Everington said...

Yes that's a great story - I did it at school, oddly enough. Despite it's length, it's one of those stories you can read and read again and find different layers to it. The yellow onion.

Barry Napier said...

Absolutely. In doing edits for The Masks of Our Fathers, I could have filled a bucket with not-so-subtle references to King's "Misery".

Cate Gardner said...

I love that extract, and in answer to your question, probably.

Lydia Kang said...

Definitely. Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes unconcious.

New follower, found you from Milo's blog. :)

AnthonyJRapino said...

Uh oh, having that wallpaper does not bode well for poor Kelsey.

It's funny, but I just taught this story to my class last week. It seems they don't find it quite as creepy as we do, Aaron. Even with the literal creeping going on at the end! What, are they *blind!?*

Those last lines are freakin' wonderful.

Danielle Ferries said...

I actually have that book in my "to be read" pile. Shall move it up closer to the top.

Katey said...

Doesn't get much better, as accidental inspirations go.

And yeah, my brain does that to me. Sometimes I'm writing something and I'm like, "Oooh, that's good!" Then I realize I pulled it from somewhere. Which makes it better, mostly. :D