Thursday, June 21, 2012

Introduce Yourself

Piano Man at SLC Farmer's Market

I almost missed the guy with the portable piano. Tucked behind the cookie stand (Butterscotch Bacon was the flavor of the week) there was a one-man band, transported by bicycle. The thought of it made my upper thighs quiver. When I tossed my coins in his tin pan I could see this was his passion—he certainly wasn't doing it for the money. Interesting.

What's his story, I wondered. I could almost hear his mom: "Turn off the TV—you need to practice." And his dad: "Put your bike away before you practice." And him: "I'm using my bike—I already practiced."

Obviously he became a pianist and a biker. Maybe he majored in music; maybe he rode his bike to play in a bar. I wonder. How did he tell his grandma he wanted to strip down her upright piano so it wouldn't weigh so much? Where does he stash the piano between gigs? Does he stay in the bike lane? How does he make a left-hand turn? Scary!

Think back to last Saturday and imagine a snippet of your life. Were you baking butterscotch bacon cookies? Stripping an old piece of furniture? Pulling something (or someone) on your bike? What's your story? Write down what you were doing and see what it says about you. You might find it interesting!


This post is an example of a mini-memoir. Using the roving piano man as a vehicle, I share eleven details about myself. Before you read further, go back and see if you can find them. Did you figure out that:
  • I live in Salt Lake City.
  • I'm fascinated by unique people.
  • I make up stories in my head.
  • I'm not a biker.
  • I give money to buskers.
  • I like cookies.
  • I took piano lessons.
  • I'm a parent.
  • I worry about hitting bikers while I'm driving.
  • I think journals are important.
  • I think writing helps us discover ourselves.
Details woven into the story introduce a character in a realistic, natural way. It's a trick of fiction that works well in memoir, too.

1 comment:

VickiC said...

My husband rides his bike (his passion) to work every day the weather allows. I almost wish he had a piano to pull as certainly drivers would notice him. He's had a few close calls due to "inattentive" drivers.

But that reminded me of my own story. My dad had planned to take us to Disneyland (the year it opened??), but once we arrived we discovered it was closed for the day. Feeling badly, Dad took us to a pony farm and somehow got talked into buying us a Shetland pony. Having no cart in which to pull him, he put him in the back of the station wagon and drove home.
Bet we looked as strange as a bike pulling a piano.