Dreams, memories, writing

My friend Kasie reminded me I’m supposed to be developing my ego, so today I’m going to shamelessly quote myself. In one of my early posts, I wrote:

None of us are truly creators. Writers can only share our version of what was, or is, or might be. 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?

memoryI’m fascinated by the nature of memory. Supposedly, every single thing we’ve ever seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted is recorded in our brains. A brain surgeon can probe a group of cells and instantly we taste the bite of pizza we were chewing at 5:17pm on 3 June 1982. Doesn’t that amaze you?

So then, why is our memory selective? Why do we choose to forget some pleasant things, yet remember painful ones. Is this how we form our personality? Is this how we form our very existence? And what is the nature of existence anyway?

Uh … yeah, going a little too deep there.

But I’m beginning to see the pattern in my musings. Maybe I should just rename this blog to Dreams, Memories, Writing since I connect them so often here. I think all three are ways we process our lives. We have little control over the first two and, on the best level, over the third, too. Flannery O’Connor said: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

That’s what our memories, and dreams, and writing are for: to find out who we are and what we think and why we’re here in the first place.

29 thoughts on “Dreams, memories, writing

  1. I suppose, in a way, imagination is connected to memory. How could one write a romance without experiencing the feeling first. That’s not to say you have to be evil to write about evil. You can be as pure as the fresh fallen snow and write in the POV of a serial killer, because we’ve all seen or experienced it somehow.

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    1. But we’re all at least a bit evil, we just don’t all give in to the impulses. And don’t they say you can’t imagine something that doesn’t exist? So yes, I think everything we “make up” for our novels is really something from our own memories … names changed to protect the innocent, of course.

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      1. Naw… After all, I write about ghosts. Which don’t exist. Certainly not in my memories.

        Some things are just made up.

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        1. I think “doesn’t exist” means in any form. Obviously, fantasy and sci-fi writers imagine all sorts of creatures that technically don’t exist, but they’re based on lifeforms which do exist.

          Same with ghosts. A ghost is either a human’s spirit or residual kinetic energy, depending on your life view, and people do exist in your memory.

          If nothing else, you knew of ghosts from books and movies before you wrote about them so you didn’t really imagine them.

          However, you are entitled to think you did. 🙂

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  2. Hi Linda,
    You know what’s even more shameless? Quoting yourself on someone else’s blog.
    [does it anyway]

    from my random thoughts side bar:

    Everything I see, touch, smell, taste and hear eventually makes its way into my writing somewhere. I’m just glad that my brain never runs out of idea index cards. Oh, sometimes one of my ideas gets mangled when I leave it in the metaphorical pocket of my jeans and it goes through the washer. I see that as an opportunity. I work to make it stronger when I unroll the soggy little mess.

    great post. ( I love how the brain works.)
    Karen :0)

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  3. Yes, Linda, you definitely need to work on that ego. You’re entirely too humble for your own good. 🙂 Great post. I agree with both the comments above. And speaking of dreams, I have a few I need you to interpret for me.

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  4. I think, therefore I am, I think?

    I love shameless promotion BTW! Also, I just read Brain Rules by Medina – great book and it talks about all things like I should be exercising more to improve my brain paths, at any age brain keeps changing as long as we still are willing to learn,
    my favorite chapter was on women / men brain differences. And there are many chapters talking about memory.
    It’s true I am a geek and proud of it. Another shameless promotion.

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    1. I hadn’t heard of that book, maybe I should read it. But oh, not another one nagging me to exercise. 😦 Doesn’t exercising your brain improve brain paths? If only thinking burned a thousand calories a minute!

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