Teagan Kearney/G.N. Kearney: Writer: MINING MEMORY


Who we are influences what we write, and our experiences influence who we are. How we remember our past also affects us. If we’re asked what our last year’s holiday  was like, at first we might struggle to remember much more than a few images, and not necessarily because we were sampling too much of the local vino. But if we continue recalling the experience, we add to those segments of memory and, slowly but surely, we recall enough to bring back much of the holiday. 

The interesting thing is that when we’re remembering a past experience in this way, we automatically organize our memories into the sequential order in which the events took place – our impressions upon arrival and seeing the beach/mountain/city; later we add watching the glory of a blazing sunset in an exotic location etc. In this way we instinctively create a story out of our past.

If it’s possible to view our own lives as narratives and draw on our memories when we write, and we were to write only the facts of the experience, this wouldn’t convey enough of the truth about the event. One point to consider when we use any detail or episode from our own life, is that we should feel free to render them how we wish. As writers we don’t have to be restricted, but neither should we feel any guilt about using our memories freely because that doesn’t mean we are not true to them.

When telling others about a past event we also reinforce that memory. Sometimes the original experience becomes subsumed into the retelling – and later on it's the retelling we  recollect.  Different sense impressions like smells or sounds, such a particular piece of music  can trigger memory, and the major events we remember in our own lives often have strong emotional connections.

You might think I’m wandering off the subject of writing but writers often play with memory: giving two characters different memories of the same event creates conflict and gives insight into their personalities; suffering from amnesia or creating false memories make for interesting scenarios; making the reader aware that a character is inaccurately remembering an incident can raise tension; and a flashback is simply a memory from a character's past.    

So memory is inextricably linked with storytelling and there are many possibilities for making use of our own memories, as well as of the way memory works, in our writing.

Writing Update 
Editing is slow at the moment. I try to wake up earlier, go to bed later...but that never works as I end up going to bed at 4am and getting up at 10am feeling as if I’ve a hangover, but without the pleasure of intoxication the night before. I'm making resolutions to fit writing time in and around my other commitments but then something always pops up demanding to go to the top of the list.

And that is how it has to be for now. I’ve completed four chapters using the Pro Writing recommendations and am ready to start Chapter 5. I’ve moved my deadline back to the end of September with the hope that I’ll complete before then. Not being negative, just pragmatic! 

Today’s Haiku 

soy frappucino
easy on the ice because
I don't like brain freeze 

Useful Links: 
If you have any questions you think I can help with, then please go to Adrianna’s great website at where you will find a Writers Surgery page or email me at 
An interesting article:

Reading Recommendations:  Gold Dragon Haiku  - my first attempt at publishing poetry!

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.


  1. I totally agree. Memories can be a great tool for storytelling and we can use all the tools we can get. Nice post.

    1. Thanks, Vashti. I certainly agree we need all the tools we can get. By the way, I really enjoyed your interview with Urvashi. (

  2. I agree with the importance of memory. I personally use it as a way to show the corruption of my characters over time. They'll remember the same events in slightly altered ways throughout the book much as we do. Except, of course, their bent is much more symbolically pertinent than my remembering what I had for breakfast.

    1. Using memory to show corruption is brilliant as you can then reveal the truth of the character over time. And, you never know, some readers might enjoy a series of flashbacks over time featuring gourmet breakfast menus!


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