Super Memories

Last Sunday, Sixty Minutes had a segment about people with super memories. These five people possessed the ability to recall dates and events from years ago in only seconds. Is this ability a gift or a curse? As memoir writers, wouldn’t it be wonderful to recall almost every day and event of your life? To remember entire conversations word for word?  

So what’s the science behind memory? According to the expert I watched, adrenaline is the magic bullet that sears a memory into our brains. I have often said that emotion is what drives us to remember an event. But if you think about it, an adrenaline rush is probably a part of that emotion.

Scroll back through the significant memories of your life and try to attach an emotion to each event. I can almost guarantee that the reason you can recall that event is because of a strong emotion you experienced—a rush of adrenaline searing that moment in your mind. If you’re one of the lucky few with a super memory, you won’t need to do any fact checking when you write your memoir. But you will need something else. A very good editor to help you decide which events are important enough for your book and which events to leave out.

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