Non-Fiction Prompt #7
Find a piece of music that reminds you of a time and place from your past. Play it in the background while you write about a personal experience from this period. Try to capture a sense of time and place by including specific, relevant details. What neighbourhood did you live in? What was the political climate? What were the trends of the time? What were the (spoken or unspoken) rules in this society, or in your family?
In Kamal Al-Solaylee’s “How I Wrote It” piece on CBC Books, he describes how while writing his memoir, Intolerable, he used music to prompt memories of his childhood in the Middle East. He writes:
“[I] listened to lot of Arabic music—to get into the mood sometimes, and to remember words and expressions…Because I was feeling sad about the Middle East and my family, I went to YouTube to see what kind of Arabic music I could find. I looked for Egyptian musicals from the late 1950s and ’60s—the golden age of Egyptian musicals—and one song led to another. I listened to songs I hadn’t heard in 30 years and found that I actually remembered them pretty well and that I could sing along because they were hard-wired into my memory… I was really attracted to how free society used to be in those movies, how women were able to sing freely about their lives and their emotions.”
Details on EVENT’s 2016 annual Non-Fiction Contest. Now accepting online submissions!