Home » Diary of A Memoir Writer » Building Memory

Building Memory


It feels as though it has been a month since I last wrote. I was surprised to hear my husband say that he has been home from Europe for two weeks. When he returned home my new writing schedule fell through the cracks. Now it is time to get back in a rhythm.

Editing Sunlight is slow so I have been practicing a new journalling technique. It is helping me as much as memoir writing to review my past and see who I am. Some days it feels a bit tedious but it is a quick way to look at your life, build memory and over all feel confident and more in-charge.

What I am doing is reviewing each day in as much detail as possible. As I do this I see things – things that matter, things that annoy me, bad habits, things to work on, etc. It helps me to feel that each day was not a waste cause I have many days that I feel I didn’t accomplish much or what I wanted to but when I review it so much went on that I wasn’t really aware of.

As an example of this, I met my sister by the river for a visit. The mosquitos were getting a tad too friendly by the end of the evening. I didn’t realize until I got home and reviewed my day how much it was bothering me. How I really felt out of control of the situation and these mosquitos were dominating me, my life. Cause I wasn’t really ready to go home but felt I had to because of them. They were swarming me with their attention and I was feeling closed in, stuck. Hmmm … deep feelings for mosquitos.

I start at the end of my day and work backwards leaving blanks between each bullet point. As I work through my day I insert memories that return to me in the blank spaces. I go all the way to the beginning of my day and back down again. It is quite impressive how often I am not aware of my feelings during the day. I read somewhere that emotions are a window into the soul. It seems sad that I am not aware of my emotions throughout the day. Especially sad if they are a window into my soul.

It is important to note that while I do this remembering of my day I visualize myself moving through my day like a spectator. Not only does imagery increase my memory but it will “bring the fact into connection with the kernel of my essence.” (Anthroposophy in Everyday Life by Rudolf Steiner) While this sounds deep or perhaps corny I do believe it is true. Rehashing my day makes me very aware of what is going on as I have stated above. It is doing for me what memoir writing does for me. It resolves, heals, brings to light, lifts me, etc.

People have said to me that their favourite scenes from my writing is when I have detail, when it seems they are living right in that moment with me. That is what I do each day in my journal, relieve my day. Writing it like a scene I suppose, only in bullet form.

Speaking of scenes. I know one that I need to write for Sunlight. Back to work.

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3 thoughts on “Building Memory

  1. I feel such an aversion to writing a journal. I like writing blog posts in lieu of journaling, I think. When I write poetry or work on my memoir or play, I like to write for the project. It feels like such a waste to be journaling, yet so often I wish I had written journal entries in the PAST. Hah.

    • I have a similar feeling. Journalling for me has traditionally been really bland. I often put my book down and feel it is void of my character or that I didn’t share any real issue or topic. When I blog it seems facing my computer screen comes out a more focused topic. I can definitely relate to what you say.

      I would say that there is a gap in what I am doing. I have a book on journalling techniques and it would be great for me to finish it, learn more about it, so I can do for myself what I do in blog posts.

      I am curious to know why you wish you had written journal entries? Do you sometimes wonder when something happened or how you were or thought at a different time in life?

  2. Bland, yes, and I feel a need to rush through it and be done with it.
    But there have been times I have thought, wow, what was I feeling and thinking at that time? and what were the details like? If I had a nice juicy journal I could find out without having to prime the memory pump–which is very exhausting, especially at the rate I am doing it!

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