Then I remember...

Have you ever let your mind drift while you were remembering the past? So much that you forgot where you were?

A memoir is usually about remembering the author’s troubled past from the comfort of a nicer present. But what if the past was better? 

In this snippet, Malala loses herself in a daydream about good times gone.

My mind transports me back to my school and there I am reunited with my friends and teachers. I meet my best friend Moniba and we sit together, talking and joking as if I had never left.

Then I remember I am in Birmingham, England.

In Malala’s story, using a memory like this is a great way to show her desires.

Here, language is important. ‘My mind transports me back’ has a dream-like quality. Her memory uses positive language: reunited, friends, together, talking and joking. It’s in present tense too; it’s happening now (in her mind, at least).

Compare that with the final sentence ‘Then I remember I’m in Birmingham, England’. Reality has hit, so the sentence is short, blunt, and factual. Not where she wants to be at all.

My mind transports me back to my twenties and I’m sharing a crumbling house with my fellow apprentice chefs. We try recipe after recipe, perfecting our techniques. We throw dinner parties, sitting on milk crates, eating fine food off cracked plates and laughing and dancing until dawn.

Then I remember I’m famous with a fancy media profile to uphold.

My mind transports me back to home and there my Mum stands smiling, while I’m tackle-hugged by my Dad. My Nan walks in with some freshly made baked treats and we all sit together on the verandah, laughing and chatting well into the afternoon.

Then I remember the accident.

Write a passage that starts with the phrase ‘My mind transports me back’ following the same pattern as the snippet. Talk about good times past like it’s happening now. Change the feeling with a sentence starting with ‘Then I remember’.