No one recalls everything with precision. When I wanted to know more about how memory works, I began researching and studying. Three of the most profound things I learned and which have significance for the memoir writer are:
1. It is impossible for the average human brain to record with total accuracy even something that happened just minutes ago
2. Our current memory of a past event is influenced by the stories we’ve told (and heard) over time about the original event
3. The act of remembering itself often begets additional pieces of related memory (Great news! The more you write about a particular memory, the more you might retrieve.)
This all suggests that even if my memory were better, I couldn’t rely on it completely anyway. Once I understood this, my writing opened up. Without the grinding pressure to be “right” about every remembered detail, I began to regard my own initial memories as a starting place for writing memoir, but not as the only resource...
|One of Jane's six word memoirs.|