Busyness, stress, aging, and noise are just some barriers that affect our day-to-day memory retention. Time slips away and we realize we’ve forgotten an errand, or a phone call, or to pay a bill. So we cope with various methods to help us remember, but we also don’t let the frustration control us.
Long-term memories, however, have the capacity to cripple plans and relationships when they become so entwined in our minds and hearts that we measure all our decisions against them. Especially when our memory has become distorted over time. Like the telephone game children like to play, the whispered word or phrase at the end is completely different than the beginning, and usually unintelligible.
In the movie The Secret of Moonacre, memories of an event are passed down from generation to generation, each adapting it to their own perspective. The meaning behind the original event is completely submerged under suspicion and accusation.
Each side of the conflict fuels the animosity all built on a faulty foundation. When newly arrived Maria Merryweather comes to live in this environment, she realizes that if the truth isn’t discovered there can be no restoration. She begins a search through all the stories and memories trying to find the true thread. Her fresh insight finally breaks down the twisted memory brambles and releases everyone to start fresh.
Take a special event from your past and write it up as a free-write, not pausing, just pour out all the pieces you think you remember. Then write down all the emotions that still influence you from that memory.
Ask a sibling or friend or family member, who was also present, to share their recollections. How close are you emotionally? What different details stand out?
Apply this idea to one of your characters. Have them completely misunderstand an event and makes decisions based on that faulty impression.