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The biographer's confessions

The biographer's confessions | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"The biographer searches for order, while the memoirist must embrace a muddle—and leave the blank spaces blank."

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A look at how the principles of memoir and biography differ. They are not as different as they appear to be at first glance: many memoirists have discovered that writing can impose order in retrospect to a life that until then seemed chaotic.

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memoir writing
a look at how we remember and write about the past
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The mystery of S., the man with an impossible memory

The mystery of S., the man with an impossible memory | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Reed Johnson writes about Solomon Shereshevsky, the mysterious subject of the neuropsychologist Alexander Luria’s “The Mind of a Mnemonist” who was long known as S.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Fascinating study of a man who took mnemonics to an incredible extreme. (The adjectives are not fanciful.) The article also deals with the link between memory and imagination.
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How human memory works: Tips for UX designers

How human memory works: Tips for UX designers | memoir writing | Scoop.it
One of the greatest information processors we deal with in our everyday life cannot be seen or touched. It is a wonder we rarely think about it. It’s human memory.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
This article, ostensibly for computer programmers, is based on lots of information about the extent and limits of our memory.
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The woman whose memory invented a murder story

The woman whose memory invented a murder story | memoir writing | Scoop.it
When two men disappeared in 1974, Erla Bolladottir’s testimony put her boyfriend and his friends in prison for murder. She tells us how the case made her the most notorious woman in Iceland – and why they may be innocent after all
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Some memories leave more questions than answers. When they leave enough doubts, they can change lives.
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Here are the ages your brain peaks at everything throughout life

Here are the ages your brain peaks at everything throughout life | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Business Insider France est un site d’information sur l’économie, les technologies, les entrepreneurs, l’innovation, les découvertes et bien plus encore. En texte, en images, en vidéos et en graphiques, de l’actualité essentielle et percutante.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
If you've ever wondered whether you're over the hill, just remember that we all have many hills to climb.
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Literary style and the lessons of memoir

Literary style and the lessons of memoir | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Stephen Burt writes about creative memoirs inspired by poetry, including books by Paul Hunter, Jessica Anne, and Jasmine Dreame Wagner
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Some of the most interesting memoirs are unconventional in their presentation. Some are not chronological, some do not fit the definition of any book you have ever read. Here some of them are analyzed.
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How genealogical research will help you write a better memoir

How genealogical research will help you write a better memoir | memoir writing | Scoop.it
In an era where there's a flurry of activity and interest about roots and origins, the TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?" the re-release of th
Gene Bodzin's insight:
There is only a tangential relationship between genealogy and memoir, but knowing your family history can often keep you from making some factual blunders about the people in your past.
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Can technology affect our memory?

Can technology affect our memory? | memoir writing | Scoop.it
I get asked by the participants of my Wits Fitness Brain Training classes “how is technology today affecting our children’s memory or ability to remember?” Good question. In the Wits
Gene Bodzin's insight:
This subject is controversial and is sure to get lots of attention as people dependent more on technology to tell them what people used to remember.
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Memory relies on simultaneously available timescales

Memory relies on simultaneously available timescales | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Memory creates a hierarchy of different timescales, all of which provide relevant information when necessary, so they must all be available simultaneously.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Listening to music for the umpteenth time, or watching a familiar play or movie, involves more than the present experience. It also draws on the memory of previous hearings and viewings.
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When you can’t remember where you are or how you got there

When you can’t remember where you are or how you got there | memoir writing | Scoop.it
How does it feel to suddenly lose more than a week of your memory? Claudia Hammond investigates.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Can't remember a few details about your childhood? Count your blessings.
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In Arbitrary Stupid Goal, conjuring a lost New York City

In Arbitrary Stupid Goal, conjuring a lost New York City | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Tamara Shopsin on her new book, growing up at Shopsin’s, and New York as we’ll never see it again.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
A memoir need not be chronological or any other kind of logical either, and it need not fit into arbitrary definitions. This one is described as a patchwork quilt, a crossword puzzle, and it is as much about its setting as about its characters.
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Google is the world’s memory now

In a scene of Game of Thrones (no spoilers) last night, an older man working at the equivalent of The Library of Alexandria tells a younger man there that they are “the world’s memory.” As an adult…
Gene Bodzin's insight:
A cautionary essay about our tendency to relegate cultural memory to a technological dumpsite.
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Author Sherman Alexie cancels much of book tour

Author Sherman Alexie cancels much of book tour | memoir writing | Scoop.it
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A touching reminder of how recalling our life stories can dredge up our ghosts
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Inspiring others to confront their pasts and tell their stories

Inspiring others to confront their pasts and tell their stories | memoir writing | Scoop.it
In one of the first scenes of The Glass Castle, Rex Walls, played by Woody Harrelson, forcibly throws his daughter, who can't swim, into the deep end of a pool. On purpose. Not once. Not twice. But over and over and over again. Gasping for breath, Je…
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Nobody's life story is only sweet and soft and delightful. Telling the painful parts can revive the old traumas. But those are the parts that are likely to have the deepest effect on readers.
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Far-distant days: the past has a dizzying power to ground us 

Far-distant days: the past has a dizzying power to ground us  | memoir writing | Scoop.it
In his essay The Machine-Tooled Happyland (1965), Ray Bradbury lays out his vision for the theme park of the future. Along with standard-issue attractions such as carousels and rollercoasters, tomorrow’s theme park must also contain a
Gene Bodzin's insight:
You may think of yourself as the focus of the universe, but paying attention to the outer fringes of that universe will add some perspective to how you view the people who came before you.
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Living with dementia: Gerda Saunders tells her story before she forgets

Living with dementia: Gerda Saunders tells her story before she forgets | memoir writing | Scoop.it
As a well-respected academic with a sharp intellect, Gerda Saunders has led an exceptionally rich life of the mind. But at the age of 61, she was diagnosed with dementia. Her new memoir, "Memory's Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia," chronicles her experiences with the disease.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
For one reason or another, everybody's memory will one day be gone. The only way to preserve some of it is to write about it.
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How real magic happens when the brain sees hidden things 

How real magic happens when the brain sees hidden things  | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Seeing things that are hidden; failing to see things in plain sight. How magic exploits the everyday weirdness of perception
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Awareness is a major factor in how much we remember. But magicians take advantage of awareness gaps and remind us that we do not always see what is in front of us.
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The power of digital memory

The power of digital memory | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Governor general’s case a reminder of how hard, and controversial, it is to “expunge” official records.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Some memories come and go quickly; others are digitized and never die.
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Svetlana Alexievich on why she does what she does

Svetlana Alexievich on why she does what she does | memoir writing | Scoop.it
For two years I was not so much meeting and writing as thinking. Reading. What will my book be about? Yet another book about war? What for? There have been a
Gene Bodzin's insight:
One author's view of how memories become literature.
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Telling a story is the most powerful way to activate our brains

Telling a story is the most powerful way to activate our brains | memoir writing | Scoop.it
A good story can make or break a presentation, article, or conversation. But why is that? When Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich started to market his product through stories instead of benefits and bullet points, sign-ups went through the roof. Here he shares the science of why storytelling is so uniquely powerful.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Stories affect both the teller and the listener in unexpected ways.
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False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes

False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Julia Shaw uses science to prove that some memories are false. Now she's tackling criminal-justice failures
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Another, very detailed, take on repressed memories and planted memories
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How does trauma affect memory?

Why Complex PTSD can feel like a bad case of déjà vu.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Our identity is largely a product of the stories we tell ourselves about the past. But what happens when the past kills our stories?
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How to write about death

How to write about death | memoir writing | Scoop.it
“The Art of Death” by Edwidge Danticat is part memoir and part survey of how others have dealt with death in their writing.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
The inevitable end is always on our mind, even when we ignore it by writing about the past. There are life lessons to be learned from those who have focused on it.
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Your brain doesn't contain memories. It is memories

Your brain doesn't contain memories. It is memories | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Memories begin when your neurons respond to outside stimuli—and compound to rewire your brain.
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Even though we may sometimes doubt the accuracy of our memories, we are more sure of what they are than of how we get them in the first place. This article is an effort to explain why.
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Facebook is re-sculpting our memory

Facebook is re-sculpting our memory | memoir writing | Scoop.it
For much of history, the only way to chronicle life was to write about it. Now, many of us take selfies on our smartphones to share on Facebook, and create picturesque albums of our daily meals on Instagram. And as the mediums we use to recall and review the past change, so do ou
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Looking at photos can help you remember what happened at 9:15 on that night in July last year, but can you recall what happened five minutes before that, or afterward? There are benefits to pictures, but they have their limits.
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Do you love yourself?

Do you love yourself? | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Let's go back - August 2016. I've decided to take the evening to myself and de-stress. After leaving my corporate job to build my own company six months earlier, anxiety and stress levels are quit
Gene Bodzin's insight:
Whoda thunk? A short look at how four months of memoir writing by a novice changed the way she thought about herself
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