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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Construct With Memory

“How did I come to believe that what I knew was also what mattered? And, more to the point for the future, is it what matters?” Patricia Hampl

In her book, I Could tell You Stories, Hampl explores the realm of memory in auto-biographical writing connected by the impulse to remember. She pointed out that both Kafka and Rilke saw memory, “not experience”, as holding the sovereign position in imagination.

For herself Hampl discovered: “The recognition of one’s genuine material seems to involve a fall from the phony grace of good intentions and elevated expectations.” Although she shares via the route of memoir, this door of recognition applies to all forms of writing. If we are unable to infuse our memories, or perhaps our search for our memories into our work then we rob it of honest quest and discovery and an imagination that connects. Each person’s voice is unique and bears witness to life. But in order to share, we first need to identify what really matters to us.

“We store in memory only images of value.”

Journal Prompt:

1.     Choose a first memory of an experience you’ve had twice and write each up as an autobiographical event. For example, the very first day you went to school and then the very first day you went to school in high school, or college.

2.     Or perhaps choose an area in which you became accomplished. The first day you swam in a pool and the first time you swam in a race.

Share: What emotions rose to the surface? Were there similar ones in both vignettes?

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