We were Future Retro…

future retro woman

Warning: Blatantly sentimental blog ahead!

During a gigantic stall in revision I’ve been looking inspiration. Every time I think I’ve found a new source, I’m disappointed. My bad-boy muse is vacationing on stellar shores far from here, so I can’t count on him. Sometimes though, inspiration is right under your nose or, in my case, right under the stairway.

When my husband suggested we clean out the boxes from under the stairs, I was excited. We don’t collect much stuff and we didn’t bring a great deal of junk from our former lives, but what we do have has lurked under the carpeted treads… for the last twenty years. Filled with enthusiasm, he lugged the crumbling containers out, piling them in the middle of our walkout basement.Nikon

“OK, tell  Harry Potter his room is ready now,” he called, grinning at me as I stared down at the huge mountain of cardboard artifacts. Suddenly, I was Indian Jones unearthing relics from an ancient life – my own.  How will I feel when I open the photo albums, I wondered. Inside there might be dragons…or so I thought.

Instead I found inspiration.

As I looked into the faces of dear friends and an ex-husband, a lost lover and a sweet child named for me, my wonderful co-workers still living or long dead, I was amazed.  How could people who sucked the air from the room then appear so human and normal now? Apparently my eyes were dazzled by what was in front of them at the time, leaving my mind to expand moments of the past into infinite size.

The second those photos were snapped we all became Future Retro; we just didn’t know it yet.baby photo

So, after dashing away a tear, I decided to wrangle all that sentiment into something useful – Word fodder. Opening the door to the past sometimes tests our nerves but, even if we laugh or blush, nothing more can happen to those Future Retro days. Now they are strictly under our control, highly charged emotional clay we can mold into fiction.

Imagination is, after all,  the sum total of our memory and experience. Our fears and hopes, humor and chaos invade our writing resulting in characters who are fearless or weak, compassionate or wrathful. These people  are bold, they accomplish what we were unable to accomplish…maybe.  They succeed where we failed…or the other way around:)

Do memories inspire you? Have you tapped the aquifer of memory in your own mind?


Future Retro is a fantastic 80’s compilation remix released in 2006 by Rhino Records. Check it out on Wikipedia and, while you’re there, contribute to keep Wikipedia commercial free.

Photos: Foter

14 thoughts on “We were Future Retro…”

  1. I don’t think I can link my memories directly to what I write about, but I certainly tap into the sensations of my past, from the taste of a good wine to what it feels like to fall in love. Remembering these kinds of experiences might be part of the fun of writing, because I get to mix and match them in all kinds of new ways.
    And an Eighties mix? I’m so there! (Although I confess I might already have many of these gems in my collection!)

    1. Some of my hardest times make for the best inspiration available. Seeing the reminder photos was a bit rough but, honestly, if I call on those emotions the best drama emerges. However, just making stuff up works, too. Don’t want to get too real…except for the falling in love descriptions.

      I thought you might like FutureRetro. The Eighties still rock for me!

  2. This is the time of year I work on the family calendar, this year’s theme being “Retro”. Coincidence? So I too have been going through old photos and scanning the ones I plan to use. Found some good Clay & Assoc. pics, btw. I find the quest emotionally exhausting. I think I prefer to live in the present and future. Am I a coward or just in denial?

  3. Future retro, I like that…being captured on a photo is a strange business when you think about it, a moment in stasis kept for all time. It is something that could end up being in a sinister sci fi movie methinks. I think without our memories we could never write as we do, never touch people, it makes even bad memories worth it sometimes.

    1. There are cultures where taking photos is taboo because the camera steals your soul. They may be right!I love the idea of the stasis. Looking at some of the pictures in the album I felt as if I was looking into a frozen pool of time. Wow. And the bad memories? Scary as they can be, they often make the best stories:)

      1. That is a very good point, it is always horrible to have bad times but they teach us so much and give us stories that make for good blog posts.

  4. What a sweet time it must have been for you… But oddly, 50 years from now, your ancestors may not have many photos of you or your family as many are taken with cell phones now. More often than not, they are not backed up…

    1. Yikes! I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll have to warn them to save to DropBox…wait probably Dropbox won’t be around either:)
      Thanks for the follow, btw. I’m checking your blog out now.

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