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Such stories create a world that is defended because it upholds our identity. Narrative therapy externalizes these stories so that self-healing resources inherent in the soul can speak to us of its neglected longings and make us whole. Without it, we'd be prisoners of the present, unable to use the lessons of the past to change our future.

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From our first kiss to where we put our keys, memory represents who we are, how we learn and how we navigate the world. But how does it actually work? This one-hour documentary, a production of WGBH Boston, examines how memories are formed, what encompasses the act of remembering and the new technologies being used to implant, edit and even erase memories -- a process that could DELETE our worst fears and, one day, may help us to re-write our past with the flip of a switch.

A process called reconsolidation helps 30 patients lose their spiderphobia testing with a tarantula and even enjoying it -- using a medication to destabilize the memory, block its reconsolidation, and create a new feeling about the tarantula. Covers misremembering; being confidently wrong; having false memories implanted by family members, police interview tactics, or in therapeutic settings; "memory hacking" generating false memories intentionally. Her book covers "how social media influences your memory, why secret agents need memory training, and what you can to do avoid memory errors.

It is commonly believed that storing a memory is like making a video, but long-term memories are never literal replays. Your choice of people to tell about past memories helps determine whether you remember them accurately—or at all. Sharing stories with listeners who pay attention and are emotionally responsive aids in recall of facts and helps storytellers find meaning in past experiences, according to research And do read the comments! Maybe also read Kate Erbland's Playlist review of the movie. Instead they exist as fragments of information, stored in different parts of our mind.

Over time, as the memories are retrieved, or we see news footage about the event or have conversations with others, the story can change as the mind recombines these bits of information and mistakenly stores them as memories. This process essentially creates a new version of the event that, to the storyteller, feels like the truth. Memory Championship. With the help of experts, Foer learned how to transform the kinds of memories he forgot into the kind his brain remembered naturally.

Madelon Sprengnether, Shapeshifting, Daily Beast, New research shows that memory may be the most unreliable narrator of all. But what seems like bad news for memoirists may turn out to be their new best friend. I credit the process of memory retrieval—which keeps subtly altering and updating the past in the light of the present—with this surprising and unanticipated result. Oliver Sachs's fascinating long essay in the New York Review of Books on the nature of memory--how we remember, misremember, and construct memories -- and borrow from what we read.

Elsewhere, he wrote "We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a 'narrative,' and that this narrative is us, our identities. If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story — his real, inmost story? Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us — through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations.

Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives — we are each of us unique. Baycrest Health Sciences, Why is it that some people have richly detailed recollection of past experiences episodic memory , while others tend to remember just the facts without details semantic memory? New research shows that the tendency to remember episodic details versus facts is reflected in intrinsic brain patterns.

Those who endorsed richly-detailed autobiographical memories had higher medial temporal lobe connectivity to regions at the back of the brain involved in visual processes, whereas those tending to recall the past in a factual manner minus the rich details showed higher medial temporal lobe connectivity to areas at the front of the brain involved in organization and reasoning.

These life-long 'memory traits' are the reason some people have richly detailed recollections episodic memory while others can recall facts but little detail semantic memory. They see the events of their lives as connected by the central participation of a single, continuing character Some are constantly telling their daily experiences to others in a storying way and with great gusto. They are drifting ever further off the truth. Or are they different chapters? Whenever his grandmother told the story about the man with four dogs, the story changed, depending on the audience.

And whenever Delgado gets writer's block, he thinks about that audience, because " it helps to remember that a story exists to connect one person to another, for however briefly. An interesting series, worth reading. And while those memoirs might undermine the ones we've written, they also might just improve on them.

They are the product of what happened originally and everything that has happened since. The accuracy of our memories is not measured in how vivid they are or in how certain you are that they are correct. Memory is constructed and reconstructed.

Biography & Autobiography - Personal Memoirs

If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out. We remember a vivid person, a remark, a sight that was unexpected, an occasion on which we felt something profoundly.

The rest falls away. We become more exalted in our memories than we actually were, or less so. The interior stories we tell about ourselves rarely agree with the truth. People do it all the time: they destroy papers; they leave instructions in their wills for letters to be burned. In the novel So Long, See You Tomorrow , William Maxwell writes, 'Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.

Caro on the means and ends of power. The trouble lies with biography itself.

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It imposes conditions, and those conditions are that it must be based upon fact. I disagree. Facts are simply the medium, as paint is to the painter.

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Of course, most painters succeed as artisans, not artists, and so do most biographers. To rise above craftsmanship, one must work with abundant, varied and complicated facts. Chernow does that, presenting research that bulks Grant to nearly 1, pages of narrative. It allows him to write a rich and sensitive portrait of the inner Grant — from reluctant West Point cadet to civilian failure to triumphant general. And ultimately, to pull it off well, and to paint a picture of a living, breathing character, requires some of the skills of a novelist The point of a biography is an obsession with understanding someone else.

But I was totally fine with that. He spread the gospel of biography as the founder of the Penguin Lives book series, a joint venture of Penguin and Lipper Books--pairing "well-known writers and biographical subjects, with the books to be pages or so, short for the genre But Mr. One of the painful realities of writing about a living person: The person you're writing about could decide to compete.

The journals, I had convinced myself, were a deliberate if unacknowledged communion between subject and biographer. Letters—at least the kind that writers write—are journals addressed to someone else.

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However self-conscious, however contrived in tone, they are addressed to a recipient—an Other. The monologue becomes a dialogue. As the eavesdropper, I was less confident about my rights. An all-too common pitfall is when a biographer relies too heavily on research, oversaturation with quotes, letters, that hijack the biography into becoming a bloodless document. And Part 2 Academics, says T.

Stiles, have largely abandoned the profession for fear of being accused of endorsing the parochial great man view of history. By comparison, a snug cubicle in a history or English department, and a benefits package, begins to look mighty attractive. I've just skimmed the surface of the second piece, here. That few material facts are known about Nat Turner has not stopped writers of various backgrounds from imagining his life.

In some cases, this dearth of information has spurred them on. Now, he turns to memoir. Contracted to write it when he was just 25, he used techniques learned from Richard Holmes and Richard Ellmann to produce a biography that read like a novel. Voice, dramatized dialogue, atmospheric scene setting—these are techniques that can make a biography vivid and memorable.

But getting them right depends upon prodigious feats of detail-mongering. Schwartz suffered from bipolar disorder: his life was a tragic story of immense promise unfulfilled. Later, Atlas was diagnosed with the same illness. In this essay as in his book, he apparently takes this on honestly. A good role model for us all. The challenge was to keep the two worlds in sync. On the glut of overlong biographies. Does any figure—even one as interesting as Orson Welles—really warrant 1, pages of investigation?

Donaldson is writing about his own experience writing biographies of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, Archibald MacLeish, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Winfield Townley Scott, and Charlie Fenton, but the book is loaded with insights into the process and the sometimes legal complications of writing biography, including legal problems discussed in his interesting case studies.

Only Indians lived there. This focuses on the good ones. Among other interesting points: "Where letters have been a vital source for literary biographers, with all their ostentatious revelation and pronouncement, the smaller, casual intimacies of emails, which are increasingly being donated to public archives — Harold Pinter's and Wendy Cope's to the British Library — will offer insights that might, accidentally, be even more enlightening than a stash of letters can be.

How do you pin a life to the page? Wilson, biographer of Tolstoy, C.

A mystery exists at the heart of all literary biography: How does the mush of experience get turned into glittering artifact? America , by looking at maps, by studying visual images, and other sources beyond traditional archives. Explore this website and you'll find audio recordings of many interesting academic talks and some transcripts. But thanks to a number of striking innovations, the patient has made a complete recovery.

Alison Flood, The Guardian, When you can get so much from Wikipedia, is the market for biography declining?