Write to prime the pump that is your memory

We all feel our memories are fading. 

From an early age, our memories are selectively taking things from the 'active' file, shifting them to the 'for later' file, and sneakily moving details to the permanent 'archive' from where we fear we will never retrieve them.

I've got news for you - the memories are there. 

I like to think of my memory as a pump that just needs a little priming to get working again. Give it a little water, or in this case word-fuel, and watch the machinery grind its way out of the dusty corner of the shed where it got tossed ten years ago.

The concept of "triggers" at Triggering Memories developed from working with hundreds of people in classes and groups, almost all of whom told me that they had forgotten more than they remembered on the first day we worked together.

Then I witnessed a juicy trigger remind M.B. about her passion for snow angels as a child, and R.M. wrote four pages about her beloved first car. Those were not topics that either person had thought of an at decades.  They also weren't topics either of them thought would turn into favourites in their writing group.

Write to prime the pump that is your memory. I promise, it works.

Try this: 

Read one of our triggers, either by signing up for the #dailytrigger on Twitter ( our twitter feed ) or looking in the gallery at www.triggeringmemories.com and let your mind go immediately to the place where the graphic and words take you.
3 Sample #DailyTrigger "Writing Prompts"
Like this one: What are you grateful for?

Then: 

Go where the ice cream takes you, or the smell of chocolate, the blue-green colour of the plate or the feeling of gratitude. Go there and write it. Don't think about why, or who might read this, or whether the words are spelled correctly.  Write it.

Here's one person's first reaction:

When I was little girl we had special dishes for every different type of food. We had bread and butter plates that matched the china, crystal fruit nappies we hardly ever used, clear glass dessert plates with little cornflowers on them, and heavy, pastel-coloured ice cream bowls. The blue one was my favourite, and I always fought my brother so I could have it. It wasn't the only thing I fought with him for!

Write to prime the pump and rediscover details from your archives.

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Leave us a sample of what the "What are you grateful for?" trigger brought up for you.

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About Patti M Hall

Patti M Hall is an author, educator and writing coach living near Toronto, Ontario with her two very tall sons.

Hall is a non-fiction writer specializing in the stories of individuals who demonstrate resilience in the face of trauma and personal challenge. Hall is dedicated to helping other people tell their stories through whether that be through authoring books, teaching writers or coaching aspiring memoirists.

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