What is a memory?

I am participating in #SOL20. Thanks to the twowritingteachers team for creating this space for writers to write, share, and grow. Slice of Life2


As we write this March, we often tell the stories of our lives. We capture memories, rich and colorful, and spill them from our hearts onto the printed page.  In Mem Fox’s Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, a little boy, Wilfrid Gordon, tries to learn the meaning of the word “memory” so he can help his friend, Miss Nancy, find hers!  He surveys the senior citizens who are also his friends and always asks, “What is a memory?”   Their answers are short and sweet: “Something from long ago….something that makes you laugh…something that makes you cry…something warm…something as precious as gold.”

Synonyms for memory: recollections, reminiscence, mental record, evocation, reminder, remembrance, echo, memory bank, cache, store, a souvenir

         We could define memory as the sum total of what we remember and what enables us to learn and adapt from previous experiences as well as to build relationships. Memory is our ability to remember past experiences, and the power or process of recalling to mind experiences, impressions, habits, and skills. Personally, I prefer the definitions offered by the characters in Mem Fox’s book. When you put them all together, they seem to capture the very essence of what a memory is!

We probably can agree that there are hundreds of moments in every life that are worth capturing in a memoir, a short story, a poem, or even an autobiography.  They are often the most ordinary activities of our lives, made fascinating by the passage of time and the way the world changes around us.  How we got to school or what we paid for a cup of coffee and a doughnut may not seem worth noting at the time, but the contrast between how we grew up and how our children and grandchildren are growing up is really quite amazing!

Details about everyday happenings and descriptions of the most ordinary objects, people, and places will bring a memoir to life and make it relevant to generations of young readers.  The little stories and reminiscences speak about the times we lived in and about the people and places we have loved. Writers often need a spark to begin their journey down memory lane, and here on #SliceofLife20,  we’ve shared memories in the form of stories, lists, letters, poems, and photographs to get us started.  Perhaps these memories will bring one of your memories to light – one that you hadn’t thought of in ages and now it is suddenly at your fingertips.  If that happens, write it down in your notebook or post on your blog and Slice of Life on Tuesdays. It is more than halfway through this month, and already I am missing this community of writers and the memories they have shared here.

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7 thoughts on “What is a memory?

  1. Lynne, thanks for the sweet description of memory. You are inspiring writing with your post. I will be keeping my notebook handy, and practicing what you suggested. I’m sorely out of the writing practice, so I’m enjoying this month of SOL. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, great slice about what memories are and I love that book too, I once met Mem Fox when my son won a writing award many, many moons ago… The way the boy finds things to jog Nancy’s memory is so precious. So too are photos like yours that hold a lifetime of memories!

    Liked by 1 person

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