If you remember your first kiss and if you’re a novelist, sooner or later you’re going to tell the world about it. But unlike kiss-and-tell memoirs, you’re not going to tell anyone who you were with.
The writer who describes his first kiss is writing what he knows. That’s what we’re told to do; and it works, because readers who also remember their first kiss–first dance, first plane ride, first swim in the ocean–will feel a strong resonance with emotions and sensations they know to be true.
Of course I remember my first real kiss, and I’m not counting random aunts and grandmas and the older women of the church who were forever saying, “give us a kiss” as they enveloped me in Chanel Number 5 and a sneezy brand of face powder. I can write about those aunts, grandmas, and women of the church, but I prefer not to.
She who was there for my first kiss will not be named, for if she still walks this earth, she might chance upon this post and wonder why I’m talking about her decades after our lips met beneath the moon next to a quiet lake. Her lips were in no way like cherries, but they were wetter than I expected. Her green eyes were open and so were mine and our mixed breaths spun away from us as little wisps of steam in the cold night air.
This kiss is filed away in my mind’s inventory of experiences in a box labeled “First Kiss.” The dark-haired young woman whose lips were wetter than I expected is not identified in any of the files, notes, dreams, impressions and other artifacts in the box.
Now, whenever I write about a character’s first kiss, I walk into the storage room and open that box. I mix and match what I find there with my character’s traits, frame of reference, agenda and personality, so that by the time MY FIRST KISS appears in a novel as Frank’s first kiss, she who was with me beside the quiet lake might feel a sense of deja vu. Perhaps she will wonder if I remember her. But she won’t recognize our moment wrapped in a blanket on the cold night.
There are days when I wish I could forget, but the memories of first this and first that are too dear to discard. They are a part of what a writer knows–the raw material that he converts into realistic scenes and three-dimensional characters.
Malcolm’s Round Table focuses on book reviews, writing tips, the out of doors, and Glacier National Park, as well as providing information about my novels and short stories.
I am the author of: The Sun Singer, Sarbande, and The Seeker, all of which are contemporary fantasies, and the satire Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire. All of these books are available on Amazon and in a variety of formats from Vanilla Heart Publishing. My e-book hort stories Moonlight and Ghosts and Cora’s Crossing are available on Smashwords (multiple formats) and on Kindle.
Thank you for visiting Malcolm’s Round Table.