By Darvell Hunt
Over the last weekend, I took my daughter to the old farm where I grew up in eastern Utah. I don’t get out there much anymore, but it seems I’ve been there more frequently since my dad passed away earlier this year.
I showed my daughter around the yard—places like where we used to keep the goats, the cows, the pigs, and where we used to put out the chopping block when we wanted chicken for dinner. I took my daughter’s picture as she sat on my dad’s old tractor—which probably hasn’t run in 10 or 15 years. She got to see our old pet cemetery—but there are no signs at all of Missy or Snowball or Scrappy. No tombstones or dirt mounds or anything— just lots of dirt and even more weeds.
As we were getting ready to leave, my daughter asked, “Dad, why do you want to sell this place? You have so many memories here.”
I sighed and replied, “The memories aren’t here at the farm, they are inside my head.”
I’ve thought about that comment over the past few days. Not only are all those memories crammed into my skull, but all of the stories that I’ve written or contemplated are there, too. And, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference—and I’m sure the latter borrows from the former more times than I'd care to admit.
I seem to always be thinking of new ideas for stories, and more often than not, a tidbit of a memory from that old farm will be expanded and enhanced and thrown into the story, mostly unrecognizable. I suppose there really aren’t very many new ideas left out there—just lots of rehashed ones.
A writer, in effect, becomes the sum of his or her experiences. I hope my experiences—exaggerated by my creativity, of course—are interesting enough to keep my readers going once I have committed those modified experiences to paper.
I miss the old farm—yet at the same time, I’m glad it’s in my past. I never was much of a farmer. I am, however, finding myself farming my memories from those days long since past, to write my stories of today.