I remember the name of every high school teacher I ever had. Locker numbers, combinations, and favorite lunches. Triggers can make me relive embarrassing moments from my youth as if they’re happening again. Including when I got my name written on the board in kindergarten for talking during the Pledge of Allegiance. If I could, I’d ditch these details to make room for writing.
Then again, maybe I wouldn’t.
Those memories may seem useless to me now, but I never know when they’re going to pop up in my writing. Having a bank of lots of names is great for keeping up the variety with my characters. Remembering exactly what it feels like to be a child helps me write like (and for) them. Even wanting to get rid of a painful memory is something I can pin on a character.
Though I may need to update the memories a little bit to represent a modern child, my memories are what makes my writing. Just as I am a product of my experiences, my writing is a product of my reaction to my experiences. So, I’ll keep being a little bit of a mental hoarder in the hopes that the memories will be what makes my writing unique and relatable.