Matt’s Memory Exercise



whole group, then individual writing


Marcel Proust (?)


one slip of paper, not too small (needs space for three bits of text)



On a slip of paper, write a memory – don’t write too much, just enough to evoke the memory itself. It might be an idea to write it in the -ing form rather than making it first-person, since there’s a risk otherwise that it might already slip into narrative, which isn’t its purpose. Pass the slip of paper on to the next person.

On the slip of paper that you’ve received, read the memory and write down some information about the person who has the memory. Keep it fairly short, give details that help evoke this person, but don’t be overly specific. You don’t have to present a complete person. Pass it on to the next person.

Read the memory and person that you’ve received. Now write down the situation which triggers the memory; it might be a conversation or a sensual experience, a sight, sound or smell. By the way, the person described may be this person at the time of the initial experience described in the memory, or when he or she remembers. Pass on the slip.

Now, use the memory, person and situation that you’ve received as a starting point for a text. This could be e.g. a poem, the speaker being the person you’ve been given, it could be a monologue, it could also be this person telling someone else about the memory in a dialogue. Make it both alive and specific to this person.

© 2002 Matt Kimmich and | all rights reserved.