Fragments 5/10: Memory

I began a 10-day experiment on October 30th. For 10 days, I am:

  1. Setting a timer for 15 minutes
  2. Writing what I can during that time
  3. Stopping when the time is up
  4. Posting what is written without any final editing

For additional context, check out the first post in this series by clicking here.


There were lights in the sky. There were lights on the ground. It was the fourth of July and my 6 year old mind had hit ‘record’ on this campfire moment in which sparklers were lit and laughter drifted through the breeze. I remember little about the experience, only one moment, actually. My Uncle Jon stood over the fire holding a sparkler high over the campfire while someone made a remark comparing him to the statue of liberty. I remember the glowing yellow of the fire that lit up his face and the pulsating white glare of the sparkler in his hand that threw tiny comets in all directions. Flying from their source, they left trails of vibrant bands that lingered in my vision long after they curled into wisps of gray smoke. 

There are some emotions attached, like roots, to this visual. Surrounded by people I love, outside in the woods, celebrating together, lighting sparklers. Though the snapshot is brief, it is as warm as the fire we gathered around. 

My mind is speckled with many such memories. 


I’m pretty happy with this one. It seems to be the most complete fragment so far. The timer rang as soon as I typed the last word. I had to pause the timer a few times to take care of some other things while writing this but I tried not to do any mental writing in between.

This is a true memory and I found that the words came fairly naturally because I was working with something I knew. My family has always done summer campouts around the 4th of July in New Hampshire and Vermont and this is an early memory from one of those trips.

If given more time, I would have tried to make a descriptive connection between the fading ‘comets’ from the sparkler and memories themselves. In their own way ,they both have a bright head (the actual moments/events we remember), a blazing tail (our memories that follow the event), and the wisps of smoke they leave behind (the lingering emotions and sensations the extend beyond the visual images we recall).


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