Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Journaling to Unearth Your Memories

Even though I seem to have very good memory, I don’t have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood. I have lots of pictures though, so often I get confused wondering if I remember something because I have seen it in a photo, or is it an actual memory. It’s most strange and often frustrating, and as much as I regret not keeping diaries as a child, there is nothing I can do about it now. So I am always on the lookout for ways to dig deeper into my memories. Photos are good, but if you have as vivid imagination as I do, it’s far too easy to make up your own memories. All a photo tells you is where you were, who you were with, and maybe what you were doing. It doesn’t really tell you what was going on at the time. It probably doesn’t tell you how you were feeling, or what you were thinking, so as much as I love photos, they are not completely reliable source of memories. But they can be tools, as can many other things – tools to be used while journaling to dig deeper into your memories. For the next few days, I will post a detailed prompt to help you on your way to uncover your past. I suggest you print them or write them down on an index card and keep them. Use these prompts, and then re-use them again after a few months, without looking at your old entries. It is often surprising how many different things you will learn from the same prompt. So get that journal ready, pick your favourite pen, and let’s start digging. Here is your first prompt: Photos as tools – pick a picture, any picture from your childhood. Either at random, or by looking through and taking one that appeals to you, or makes you wonder what was going on at the time. Place that photo in front of you where you can easily see it, and just start writing in your journal. Write what you see in it. Write what you remember. As you start doing that, more thoughts will come. Some random associations might also come flowing through your pen, but that’s okay. One memory often leads to another. Keep writing until you have said all that came into your head. This is an endless exercise, since you can use every photo you have, and you can also use them more than once to learn if you remember anything different the second or third time around.

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