This week, my mentor asked me to do something a little different. She requested that I rewrite the ending of my favorite childhood story, improving it in any way I saw fit. She asked me to identify the story and the specific way I remembered it. It seemed like an easy task, but changing something that you have as a dear memory is indeed difficult. The story I chose was The Giving Tree, and I had a much different memory of it than it actually seemed to be. As a child, I always thought of that story as one of love and affection. Now, it seems a bit different and one-sided almost. It was a difficult thing to look at.
I think the reason my mentor had me do this was because going back in and dissecting a piece is an essential part of writing. Being satisfied with what you have originally will almost never do, and the piece always looks different the second or third time you examine it. Looking at your work with a fresh eye is one of the most basic lessons to be learned in writing. Going back to a piece after you have taken some time away is the best way to come up with new ideas. It gives you time to think and be inspired, instead of just settling with your original inspiration.
It took me a bit to come to this conclusion of the assignment, but it was an important thing to practice. Taking apart something as special as a childhood memory is tough, but it seems it is also an extremely effective way to teach a concept. I hope that I get more opportunities to practice things like this, although maybe with a different starting point.