What to do with sparse childhood memories that don't stand alone for a scene

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sense

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In the beginning of my memoir I want to reminisce on some fluffy old memories from childhood to set the stage, "the calm before the storm." The main "action" comes later, but these little nuggets of memories capture my voice and personality (and those of other characters who will be relevant to the main narrative arcs).


I'm struggling to figure out how to present this content. Can anyone share how they chose to deal with this kind of material?
 

Ruth2

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Maybe show them as snapshots or a montage kind of thing. Like going through a photo album?
 

Wayne K

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In my opinion the main action is where you should start the book unless the childhood memories are riveting and grab the readers attention
 

RunWrite

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I would just do a separate starting chapter with one long memory rather than jumping around and then some kind of transitional ending that hints of the bad times ahead. Just be sure the memory is compelling in its own right, or no one will hang in there to get to the action.
 

sense

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Well, I'm hoping I can pull it off. I'm going to arrange the memories according to relationship(s), so each cohort of memories will only pertain to specific characters. That way it doesn't get too confusing and soupy. It will have more of an expository or stream-of-consciousness flow, rather than a narrative, but I think licensing myself to jump around is a good way to pack a lot of comedy and charm into a short amount of space. I'll have time for building up drama and suspense later in the story.
 

trumpetology

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If the characters are highlighted in separate chapters (or even just figure prominently in different ones) you could use italics and present a short pre chapter memory that relates to the person most influential in the coming chapter.
 

Bluegate

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What is this? Some kind of stalker question?
I don't see why you can't just write it as "...this is how I remember my Uncle What's His Name.." or "...my earliest memory of Aunt Whatever, included a blue wig, a toy poodle and a bowl of macaroni salad." Foggy or sketchy memories can be pretty darn funny and often charming, just as well as they can be unsettling and frightening. If it's part of your story, you at least owe it to yourself to try it out, before cutting it out.