What Really Happened

I have a conversation about memory last night, and it’s also the subject of something I have in progress, so I thought I would talk a bit about it. First, I’m not actually talking about anything specific, but about the general idea of observation and memory.

Do you remember what your grade 1 classroom looked like? I mean, in detail. I know that I don’t, that it’s very, very far from what I think it looked like. one reason I know this is true, I can picture myself. Obviously, I never saw that, how would I have? Think about childhood memories, can you see yourself in those memories? If so, they are different from reality. Now, as you are thinking about that, how many other memories do you have that aren’t accurate? Do you remember today clearly, your commute to work?

Now, if you are a writer, is there any chance that you can use this in a story? That you can use our unreliable memories to give an extra piece of depth, an unexpected twist? I’m working on a story where that’s a focus. It’s also an interesting exercise since as writers we are supposed to pay attention to the world, to observe clearly. So, we can train ourselves, but we can never reach a point where we see reality.

This is mostly a thought experiment for me. Still, it’s something I think about often.

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