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The School of Life

Writing as Therapy Journal - Memories

Writing as Therapy Journal - Memories

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We spend so much time on the future, but so little time on our memories. The idea of making a big deal of revisiting an experience in memory sounds a little strange – or simply sad. It shouldn’t.

We’re not assiduous or devoted cultivators of our past experiences. We shove the nice things that have happened to us to the back of the cupboard of our minds and don’t particularly expect to see them ever again.

They do sometimes come back to us unbidden. On a boring train ride, suddenly an image of a beach at dusk comes to life. Or, in the bath, we remember climbing a flower-covered mountain with a friend a decade before. But we pay little attention to such moments. We don’t engineer regular encounters with them, and may dismiss them as ‘daydreaming’.

But what if we were to alter the hierarchy of prestige a little and argue that regular immersion in our memories is a critical part of what can sustain and console us? And, not least, is perhaps the cheapest and most flexible form of entertainment?

We don’t need virtual reality machines or cameras: we already have the finest ones in our heads. We should learn regularly to travel around our minds and think it almost as prestigious to sit at home and reflect on a trip we once took to an island, as to trek to the island encased in our cumbersome bodies.

In our neglect of our memories, we are spoilt children, who squeeze only a portion of the pleasure from experiences and then toss them aside to seek new thrills. Part of why we feel the need for so many new experiences may simply be that we are so bad at absorbing the ones we have had.

Our experiences have not disappeared. We can remain in touch with so much of what made them pleasurable simply through the art of evocation.

  • Hardback
  • Dot grid
  • A5 sized (h210mm x w140mm x d20mm)
  • 192 pages of 100gsm munken paper (acid-free)

About The School of Life

The School of Life Press was established in 2016 to bring together over a decade of research and insights from The School of Life's content team. Led by founder and series editor Alain de Botton, this is a library to educate, entertain, console and transform us. The School of Life is a global organisation helping people lead more fulfilled lives. It is a resource for helping us understand ourselves, for improving our relationships, our careers and our social lives - as well as for helping us find calm and get more out of our leisure hours. They do this through films, workshops, books and gifts - and through a warm and supportive community.

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