Wednesday, May 4, 2016

#IWSG for May 2016: Memory


Once again, it's hard to believe, but it's time for my monthly IWSG post. Every month seems to pass by faster and faster. What is IWSG? Direct from their site:
To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The theme for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group is MEMORY.

What is memory? According to The Human Memory:
Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in the human brain. It can be thought of in general terms as the use of past experience to affect or influence current behaviour.
There is a difference between an aging memory and one afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer's. How to tell the difference? Here is a good guide I found online.

Normal age-related memory changes
Symptoms that may indicate dementia

Able to function independently and pursue normal activities, despite occasional memory lapses

Difficulty performing simple tasks (paying bills, dressing appropriately, washing up); forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times
 

Able to recall and describe incidents of forgetfulness

Unable to recall or describe specific instances where memory loss caused problems
 

May pause to remember directions, but doesn’t get lost in familiar places

Gets lost or disoriented even in familiar places; unable to follow directions
 

Occasional difficulty finding the right word, but no trouble holding a conversation

Words are frequently forgotten, misused, or garbled; Repeats phrases and stories in same conversation
 

Judgment and decision-making ability the same as always

Trouble making choices; May show poor judgment or behave in socially inappropriate ways
 

Cleveland Clinic explains some other differences in our brain memory as we age.

Preserved memory functionsDeclining memory functions
  • Remote memory
  • Procedural memory (performing tasks)
  • Semantic recall (general knowledge)
  • Learning new information
  • Recalling new information (takes longer to learn something new and to recall it)

What does this have to do with writing? A lot...at least for me. I am finding it harder and harder to bring out the words I'm looking for. It's becoming more of a struggle to craft that perfect phrase. I find myself writing simpler sentences.

And I have to admit, I'm not happy about this. It becomes quite frustrating to KNOW you know a word, but you can't remember it. Yes, it happens to everyone at some time but for me, it is happening much too regularly. Am I worried about dementia or Alzheimer's? Not right now. I am more worried about spending time producing a poor product for my readers and frittering away what is left of my life as I struggle with this.

I will revisit this topic at the end of this year. For now, I'm hanging in there - by a hangnail at times, but hanging nevertheless.

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