I'm reading Siri Hustvedt's autobiographical book "The Shaking Woman" and came across this section about an exercise called "I remember". I haven't tried it yet, but I want to. It's important to actually write the words. The practice of putting pen to paper involves and engages different parts of the brain than just thinking. Maybe I'll start a notebook for this. I'm fascinated by it. Isn't this intriguing?
"In my writing work with psychiatric patients, I have often used a book by the port and visual artist Joe Brainard called I Remember. This slim but extraordinary volume is a catalog of the author's memories. Every entry beings with the words "I remember"
...When the patients and I write our own "I remembers" something remarkable happens. The very act of inscribing the words "I remember" generate memories, usually highly specific images or events from the past, often ones we hadn't thought about for many years. Writing the words "I remember" engages both motor and cognitive action. Usually I do not know how I will finish the sentence when I begin it, but once the words remember is on the page, some other thought appears to me. One memory leads to another.
... No matter how minute, comic, or sad these memories may be, the writers in my class inevitably find pleasure in extracting small nuggets from their mental gold mines. The most vivid memories emerge, seemingly from nowhere. There is no given theme. All memories are welcome... Because emotion consolidates memory, these reminiscences are rarely neutral—they are often rich in the subtelties of feeling. The written incantation "I remember" is vital as a catalyst. It assumes ownership of what is to come.
...the words "I remember" are in themselves therapeutic."
Image from Alice Lucchin's Flickr