While out taking a drive and sipping coffee this weekend my thoughts drifted to a writing-related topic I pursue now and again: Should I maintain a list of memorable-memories of my life?
Just to be clear, I’m not speaking about self-debate whether to begin writing a memoir. I’m simply speaking of a list of one-sentence bullet points that describe a particular memory, maybe grouped or tagged in some fashion.
As I rounded a soft-bend in the road past a golf course and two horse paddocks, I realized just how amazing the human brain really is when you compare it to modern internet-based search engines. The lookups are fast, accurate, and extremely detailed, but any form of verbal or written output is painfully slow in comparison.
To me, the value in maintaining a list of memorable-memories is simply to generate content for writing exercises. Each one of us has hundreds of stories worth telling from the thousands of memories we hold inside. These memories shape who we are, who we were, and who we’re going to be.
I’m interested to know your thoughts on the topic. Have you tried this approach? Has it worked? Have you stuck with it, or has it fallen by the wayside?
I like to blog about my vacations as well as business trips. I like putting together the memories — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that down the road I can re-live some of it and maybe laugh about it. But you know how it is when you’re on vacation — you are so busy doing the vacation stuff that it’s hard to remember the details. So, I keep a little notebook with me and jot down my random thoughts. This book may have notes about a funny license plate I saw while driving down the highway. Or a note about a conversation I overheard at a rest stop. Or it might just be a bullet-point list of the activities we participated in that day. I use it as a device for making those fast, efficient, accurate lookups in the hard drive which is my brain just a little bit more efficient when I sit down to write up my blog post about the day.
So, yes, I think it’s valuable to keep notes about memorable events because with life being so busy and hectic, you may not remember some of the finer details that at the time may seem mundane but down the road might be the key thing you need for your memoir or for your character’s latest situation in a work of fiction.
That ‘painfully slow’ output–gives us time to think before chewing on a foot. Or not.
This sounds like short-hand for journaling. And yes, I think it’s very helpful. I wish I could do this in a more organized fashion, but I have notebooks and computer files and memories scattered all over the place. At least they’re somewhere and should I come across one it might just prompt something brilliant, (I can hope.)
I always write down how I feel when things happen from the happiest days to the worst ones (a classic one is ‘I’d forgotten how bad it was to have a baby until I went into labour with the second’). We tend to forget how good or bad things can be once we’ve moved away from the situation. When I’m writing I can go back to these memories and use the words I’ve expressed for my characters. It’s always worked for me 😉
Absolutely essential. It provides authentic voice. And you can’t look that up on the Internet.