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When I was in kindergarten, there were boxes of cards in the classroom, and each card contained a story.

The stories were colour-coded to indicate difficulty or ease, and some of the stories contained on those cards have stayed with me for my entire life. The story of the man who had arranged to meet his childhood friend on a particular street twenty years into the future. And now that man is a policeman. But the friend is a criminal! And so they meet – I can recall the description of the match lighting up his friend’s face as he steps out of an alcove – and an arrest takes place. I believed this to be a factual recording of an actual encounter, and I’m pretty sure it’s why I don’t have any friends in the police force.

Those cards are one of my earliest memories of reading. My mouth waters when I think of them.

A little later, there were boxes of old hardbacks from decades earlier, stories of boarding schools and determined japesters. To paraphrase the play FanGirls – when I remember, I don’t remember the books as much as how they made me feel.

Memory is a kind of curiosity, if you let it unfurl. To remember is to set yourself wondering. It’s a musing, a ‘what was that like?’ and a ‘how did it feel?’ It’s a rich door to the sensory world. After all, we remember through the body, not through the intellect – that’s why the smell of a certain cake, or a particular flower can throw you back so instantly to a moment in time.

As writers, as creators, we want to harness the power of memory, to revel in the recollection of a particular sensory world, and so to recreate it. What an outrageous pleasure, to be able to bring things back! More than a pleasure, a divine superpower!

Sorry. Am I getting a bit big for my breeches here? I’ll calm down.

But really, accessing memory gives us clues to our own emotional, creative and sensory make up. What excites us? What engages us? You already know: it’s in your memory.

Do you remember what made you fall in love with story?

Today, take some time to call up your first memories of reading, or of being read to. Try to think about the physical space, the smells, the sounds, the feel of the pages (or in my case, the glossy card. Oh, the smell and feel of that card!).

Perhaps your first memory of story is on television. Again, try to recall and note down the smells, the tastes, the feeling of being immersed in the imaginative world.

 Then, take some time to remember your first creative act. Or the first you can remember. Bashing on the piano? Making a play with your pre-school buddies? A day-long game in which you all pretended to be ghosts? Robber stew on the back porch? When we are young we tend to inhabit creativity more fulsomely. Try to recall that early experience of being creative. Recall the way you felt, and what you did or did not do to enter that state. Open curiosity and play.

 Creativity is not a chore. It’s not homework. And it isn’t a test. It’s a deep and natural pleasure. You have always had it by your side, and you have always been under its spell.

Remember it now. Return to it.

Today’s prompt:

Write about something forgotten…