Have you ever heard a song and suddenly found yourself back in a particular moment in your life, noticing the smells and sounds, and particular colors and textures around you?
Music has a way of bringing us back. Smells do too. These kind of memory triggers may come on us suddenly—the whiff of a particular soap putting us right back in a hospital room or the smell of old sweat and dusty floors putting us back at high school basketball practice. But we can purposely use memory triggers too.
The amazing thing is how vivid and specific our memories can be when we tap into them this way.
Today, try one of these ways of dipping into your memory.
- Listen to a song from a certain time in your life
- Eat a food you haven’t tasted in years
- Read through old letters or journals
- Look at photographs from your childhood or when your kids were younger
- Do something you used to love to do (running barefoot in grass, bouncing a tennis ball on a wall, playing with clay …)
Whichever you try, see what stories come up. Focus on the details you remember. It is the sensory details that ground your writing and make it “real” for others. Some memories are joyful or nostalgic, others may be hard. Let yourself be in and write that moment.
Go ahead, write your story.
P.S. Capture your stories and leave them as a legacy for your friends, family, and the world. Here’s how you can get started.