Body memories: the first crackling fire of fall when images of that time at the cabin in the mountains arise like the catch of flame. The old, familiar scent of Chantilly dusting powder, and there is Grandmother in her Sunday dress with its jet-black buttons. That song on the radio, and in comes the memory of love’s first dance and its bittersweet farewell.
The taste of spring’s first strawberries; the twinge of pain at an old basketball injury; the scratchy feel of his old sweater you wear over your pajamas, the smell of him still held by the wool. Every sensory image brings an already lived image and with it, an emotion.
Our senses take in, our memory responds, sometimes with an image that appears lightning fast and disappears so quickly we’re not even conscious of it, yet here we are feeling an emotion, which came from we know not where. At other times we’re transported to another time and place, with details so real it’s as if we’re living that time again. Or maybe, as imagination takes cues from memory and adds its own creative touches, we live it for the first time.
Sensory memories: this is the place where story resides and where our writing can find a toehold.
What are your sensory memories today? Right now? Is there a story that goes with the memory? Of course there is. Want to tell me?
(Note: parts of this blog are excerpted from Wild Women, Wild Voices — Writing from Your Authentic Wildness)