Even when the glass is smudged, a mirror reflects an image. So too do memories, even though sometimes they shift and blur like a house of mirrors giving a distorted emphasis. But then we can filter and process and hold onto the parts that have meaning.
“A fantasy novel is more than an adventure or a quest. Rather it is a series of image-repeating glasses, a hall of mirrors that brings past and future into focus and calls it the present.” Jane Yolen
And this series of repeating images also connects with us in our personal histories, our personal daily adventures and quests. They’re not always easy to grasp though because of other influences and often jaded opinions.
In the movie Larry Crowne, Larry’s navy experience is dismissed by a thoughtless co-worker as irrelevant because of him only being a cook. Yet when Larry himself finally has the opportunity to share those memories in a safe environment, we see what an enriching life that opportunity gave him. His memories hold his audience rapt as he shares traveling the world, crossing the equator, and seeing the Northern Lights, places we often only see in magazines and television. He lived it. And with humor he also shares peeling potatoes, serving up pasta, and doing dishes. Day-to-day adventure.
His perspective takes that particular season of his life and then holds in his memory the parts that matter, the parts that make him real. It has focus in the present.
1. Take a memory your main character has from childhood that she remembers with extreme fondness. Then have a relative turn the actual memory upside down. What impact does that have?
2. Repeat with a memory that causes fear.