I've been thinking a lot lately about memory and memories, especially the different kinds of memory we all have- short term memory, long term memory, sensory memory, kinetic memory, and I'm sure there are more that don't come to mind (pun intended). Then, combine that with the stories we have that are our memories.
Short term memory can be quite a challenge at times. What did you have for lunch yesterday? There were three things you were supposed to pick up at the store and you came home with only two of them. How many lists do you make in a day? I often forget where I put the list so I could at least check off one item. Of course age has a lot to do with those challenges (I really am not THAT old). Overload, fatigue, plus a myriad of excuses all add to the puzzle.
Long term memory is plays a different role. I can remember our phone number when I was in first grade. Not impressive, you say? My family moved 11 times before I went off to college. That's a lot of phone numbers. But, I can recite it in a moment--the address too. Why? Why does my brain retain such a trivial piece of information more than 50 years later?
Sensory memory we all relate to. Sitting around with your family telling stories of "remember when," inevitably starts the tales of the day mom burned the dinner and you still can't stand the smell of those peas. We had a family disaster with bad scallops. I won't go into the details, but to this day I can barely look at one of those little white things without flipping my calendar back to age 10. My husband loves them, but kindly only orders them in a restaurant so I don't have to face the prospect of letting them in our house. That's sensory memory!
Kinetic memory I find fascinating. How do musicians play intricate pieces that go on for many minutes without needing to glance at their scores? I am a rapid typist, but only if I don't pay attention to my fingers. Once I think about it, all of my accuracy is lost. Combined with that is the sense of spacial memory. I have more than one computer. If I switch among them, it takes time for my fingers to readjust to the very slight difference in the spacing of the keys. Somehow I make the transition, but how does that happen?
I am rambling about this, for on this blog we talk about writing. We have had discussions about how to translate our lives and our experiences into print. I'm completing the final edits for my current manuscript and have been working at how to be descriptive without overdoing the explanations. That means I have to draw on what I have felt, seen, and done. Memories.
Do you have any you are willing to share as to how they have shaped your writing?