Writing, Time Machines, and Memory

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American author Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961, not long after being administered electroconvulsive shock therapy at the Mayo Clinic. He is reported to have said, “Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.” (Wikipedia).

Despite the notorious unreliability of memory, we are nothing without a sense of our past. As a writer, Hemingway would have travelled through his thoughts and past experiences, relying on what he remembered as a computer relies upon a databank. Of course, what he, or any writer, attempts to achieve is a sense of intrinsic truth, rather than quantifiable variables. The emotional connections we form to the spaces, people, and events around us are significantly important in how—or even if—a retrievable memory is formed.

The significance and…

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