Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s when I have all four of my sons together again. Laughs usually follow, when one of them starts up a “remember when” conversation—though occasionally I’ve been shocked to learn of some escapade they were involved in as teenagers. This year, in anticipation of the arrival of my two out-of-state sons, I started thinking of how important memory is, and especially how important it is to writers.
None of us are truly creators. Writers can only share our version of what was, or is, or might be. Though revisionist by nature, if you’re writing memoir, you use memory (could that one be any more obvious?), but even if you write sci-fi, surely you rely on your memory of emotion, actions and interactions for realism.
Are the best writers those with the most memories? Do writers have better than average memory retention? Do our memories inspire us to write in the first place? Is imagination really memory?