1. Write a list of 10 first things: your first pet, the first car you remember riding in, your first phone number, etc.
2. Choose one of the items on your list and create 10 questions about it (e.g. “What color is it?”, “Why did you call it that?”, “What house were you living in then?”).
3. Visualize yourself in relationship to the first thing — what images do the questions cause in your mind? What memories do they bring up? Put yourself in a specific place and a specific in your memory of the thing. What’s in front of you? Behind you? Left? Right? Above you? Below you?
4. Keep your pen moving and write in the present tense about this memory for at least 20 minutes. Begin with the words “I am…” Challenge yourself to cover two pages with writing. Challenge yourself to keep your pen moving, no matter what comes out. Challenge yourself to stay inside the image.
(this exercise is adapted from one Lynda Barry uses in her book What It Is)