When considering time-travel, I take into account active memory tripping. And then there's always the cognitive neuroscientific
angle (sampled from a recent blog):
“What we have learned over the years is that what you get out of memory depends on how you cue memory. If you have the perfect cue, you can remember things that you had no idea were floating around in your head,” Norman said. “Our method gives us some ability to see what cues participants are using, which in turn gives us some ability to predict what participants will recall. We are hopeful that, in the long run, this kind of work will help psychologists develop better theories of how people strategically cue memory, and also will suggest ways of making these cues more effective.”
For Proust, in what we still call A Remembrance of Things Past
, the trigger was a madeleine
And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom , my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the meantime, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.
For others, the unexpected trigger might be a song by the Beach Boys, the dark voice of a stranger breathing heavily on the other end of the phone line, the smell of lavender, an anonymous person walking by whose body type matches that of the one who last made your own body stiffen in erotic joy, and so on.
Spend a few weeks jotting down the "things" that trigger various memories and then use that list as a prompt for a new work, one that will attract new experiences, which will then feed into future memories triggered by the debris of neurotica your stormy life continues to leave behind.
Metadata: literature, art, neuroscience, memory, time travel