Looking Back

Life experience and memory are both integral to writing, whether that’s poetry, fiction or memoir. When we look back writing can help us to make sense out of what happened, it can help provide an order, a shape, a start, an end.

Icebreaker: Time Capsule

Ask students to write a list of items they would put in a time capsule for people in the future (or their future selves) to find. What do the objects say about this moment in history? How might they feel, looking back on these items from a future where everything is different?

Exercise: When I was Young

Sometimes, objects can help take us back to a particular time or place. They can be integral to the stories we tell. Have students think about an object that reminds them of when they were young. It could be an ornament on the shelf, a present you were given, an item of clothing, a painting or picture on the wall. What was it? Ask them to describe it in detail. Who does it remind them of? Is there a story related to the object? Try to bring the piece to life. Remind them to use their senses. To be specific.


Ask students if anyone would like to read aloud. Are there any phrases in the pieces which stand out as particularly evocative? Why might that be? Ask students to consider this when editing their own pieces.


This exercise was provided by Anthony Cropper