Friday, 12 October 2012

Memory & writing & too many selves

Many years ago I got a copy of Therapeutic Dimensions of Autobiography in Creative Writing by Celia Hunt. I only ever dipped in but highlighted some paragraphs here and there. The other day I came across this: 'As Ulric Neisser says, autobiographical remembering is a complex, many-layered procedure that involves:

1.    actual past events and the historical self who participated in them;

2.   those events as they were then experienced, including the individual’s own perceived self at the time;

3.   the remembering self, that is, the individual in the act of recalling those events on some later occasion; and 4. the remembered self constructed on that occasion.

This means that: ‘The self that is remembered today is not the historical self of yesterday, but only a reconstructed version’, a mixture of fact and fiction, or even on occasion a complete fiction of our imagination.’

It hurts your head to think of all these selves, interesting as the observations are, better not to dwell, I think.  Just write.


Mim said...

I like to think of memory as imagination.

All the best from Boston

nmj said...

Indeed, Mim. I think of memory as the scaffolding of imagination.