Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.
Follow me down this mind trail…
Do you ever get those miniature flashbacks to random, ordinary places and moments from your childhood or other past eras in your life? For example, I’ll suddenly remember being in a certain classroom, though I haven’t thought about that classroom since I was young.
Often it’s a smell that triggers these sudden memories, I think. I also get them frequently when I’m falling asleep and when I’m so tired that my brain is trying to do its thing (whatever it does when we’re asleep) while I’m awake. It’s kind of fun to see what places from my past will pop into my head when I’m going to sleep.
But the coolest random memories of all are flashbacks to being in fictional worlds—in other words, remembering reading a book. I’ll get a sudden mental image of a field, for example, accompanied by a certain set of feelings. Then I’ll stop and ponder that memory for a moment, wondering where it came from and why I feel like I want to go back there. Then I’ll remember: that image-memory was formed while I was reading Anna Karenina. And I smile and hope I’ll get to reread the book soon.
Other books I have frequent flashbacks to are 1984 (especially the rendezvous locations), Madame Bovary (walking in the streets of her town), and Happily After All by Laura C. Stevenson, a favorite novel of mine as a child (the Vermont setting). There are more, I’m sure, but I can’t call these up at will very easily, just as with memories of dreams. They come back to my consciousness only when my subconscious mind pulls them out of its file drawers. I think that at least in some cases, the memories are triggered by connections with what I was doing while I was reading those books.
As I learn to write fiction, I want to create vivid and evocative settings so that my readers will build their own literary place memories to flashback to later!