November 28, 2012

Trigger Those Memories -- Bruce Atchison

In my September 28th blog post, I mentioned how a course from Writers Weekly inspired me to write my memoirs. One of the most useful points mentioned in that course was how to use memory triggers.

We've all experienced how certain smells or sounds bring back childhood memories. It could be something as simple as the smell of autumn leaves or the taste of fruitcake. According to the course material, the sense of smell is the most evocative one we possess.

For me, songs often evoke strong memories. The ambience of the time I first heard a certain tune tends to be associated with it. For example, El Paso by Marty Robbins reminds me of being about three years old. My parents, Roy, Diane, and I were riding in Dad's powder blue Volkswagen on the way to one of Mom's relatives one warm summer afternoon. That song was playing on the radio as I watch the prairie scenery roll past the back seat car window. More than fifty years later, it still floods my mind with impressions and scenes.

This is a powerful technique we should use whenever we write about events in our lives or the lives of others. It helped me when I was writing Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School as well as my current memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. I recommend it highly.

I also post excerpts of my books on Bruce Atchison's books blog as well as at Wordpress. My hope is that people reading those blogs will want to buy my paperbacks.


  1. Very exciting - I went to the site and voted!


  2. Using all the senses makes sense. :)


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