22 Animal Photos Taken At Just The Right Moment How To Use Your Five Senses In Writing a Memoir Or Autobiography

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How To Use Your Five Senses In Writing a Memoir Or Autobiography

Did you know that you can draw memories from all your senses? Some studies have concluded that being right-brained or left-brained defines your personality. Other studies show that we use both worldviews to solve problems.

According to Dr. Judi Hollis, Family Therapist and Psychologist, “The right brain that is creative and emotional is a little more involved. I always recommend less talk, and instead more actions and emotional exploration .”

No matter which community group your memories come from, just know that they are out there and waiting for you.

I have the perfect system for retrieving memories. Close your eyes and call upon your five senses for memories. I guarantee, they will come! I’ve used this method in my workshops, and once my students are tuned in they can’t stop their points from going wild. A treasure-trove of memories is just waiting to be poured out, and it is difficult to know where to stop.

This, after all, is the easiest way to write a memoir of a moment in your life, or a biography that you can leave to your children. He gave them a gift. When you ask the question: How do my parents and their parents deal with life. What made them the people they are? What makes me the person I am?

Try these exercises the next time you sit down to recall memories.

hearing: Remind your ears to pick up sounds that may remind you of years gone by: favorite songs, speeches, poetry. The haunting whistle of a train in the distance. Have you ever traveled by train? To where? What is the occasion?

Think about listening to the radio as a child. What programs are your family’s favorites? Do you remember lying on the couch with your siblings listening to those shows on the radio? Is there a favorite football team that you root for as you sit staring at the radio, listening to the announcer call out a great play? Are your parents there? Do you have a sense of family?

EYE: Find items hidden in old boxes or containers; things you may have left behind years ago. These properties will evoke memories. Tickets to theaters, concerts, football matches. Napkins or paper matches from some forgotten first date. Who / he? Old photo album. Check them out for people you know, haven’t seen in years. Do they affect your life? How are they? Where was the picture taken? Old photo albums are a link to your past.

Touch: Find old clothes in the back of closets; clothes piled up in the garage that you just can’t share with him. The old clothes that belonged to your mother, father, or child are long gone. A mohair sweater years ago was downgraded to a down jacket. Touch them with your eyes closed. Feel the memories.

WHO: The hamburger joint you see reminds you of “the old days.” The cherry coke you used to drink after school at the corner malt shop has now made a comeback in 50s-style diners. Think of who you are with, your favorite clothes, hairdo, friends. What are your favorite songs played on the juke box while in the malt shop?

LOUNGE: This is one thing we can’t do without. This is a tried and true resource for restoring memories. Animals live by it, people take it for granted. However, without smell, food will have no taste. Imagine a world without the taste of food! What if there is a fire? You will have no warning without smell.

Now, sit at your computer or pick up your yellow, yellow notepad. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly through your nose. Now think back to your childhood. Think about the wet grass in the early morning that you like to run through with bare feet. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Think about how the dirt smells after a good, hard rain. Breathe again. Think about how bad your dog smells after taking in a nice, hard rain. Don’t breathe!

One thing about scent is that many people can associate some kind of memory with it. You often hear: “Oh, what a smell. It reminds me of when I was…” Some of us can remember the sweet smell of our father’s pipe tobacco. The smell of our mother when she was working in the kitchen; roasting chicken, oven roasting ham, smells clinging to you as you go about your chores. The smell when he was getting ready to go out to town with father; the cologne that enveloped him as he leaned in to kiss us goodnight. Comforting scents.

Then take those memories, one by one, and elaborate on them to improve your writing memories. Try to connect those memories with another memory. A sentence on the page can go on for ten pages as you remember smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing, all associated with moments in your life. All of these memories can be triggered by most of the senses, but are easily restored by the sense of smell.

Try to remember what was happening in the world at the time you were writing about it. What year is it? Open Wikipedia.org on your browser and type in a year. Amazing what you can find if you try. Start with that year on your resume. As you write, other memories from that time will emerge from those memories. More groups. Write down the month, or time. If the memories take you back to another year, start another page for that year.

As you do this, don’t try to edit. Just let your fingers fly and your memories flow. Breathe in the smell. Write whatever comes to your mind while you are in the long-gone room with your family. Don’t wait until you finish thinking.

When you come back to your story, whether it’s a day later or a week later, go back to those memories and breathe. There will be more. As the years progress on your portfolio, you will remember more: Your classroom; the smell of chalk, the smell of sweaty kids after recess. You will remember the children you played with; terrorists, friends. Write it down. All these memories are what make you who you are. They must come with you to know what shapes you into the person you are. Your children need to know this.

Immerse yourself in the smell: your college campus, stale beer, dirty socks and cigarettes. Or dance, date with great looking guys and corsages that smelled of lavender and gardenias. Memories will flood one after the other. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to bring up memories from your scent.

Try it and let me know how it works!

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