We aren't always aware of our memories until prompted by some trigger or reminder. They sit lingering in our bodies, in our brain's storage system, attached to our emotions as well as our thoughts.
The triggers can come via any of our senses - a song, a smell, a touch, a sight or taste. This trigger awakens the memory and we can experience it in a vivid, real-like way or more vaguely, like a déjà vu experience.
Time and stories around the memory can alter it - or more accurately perhaps - confuse the memory as we bring our own newer interpretation to it. In this way the memory is not static but continues to develop.
Writing can help us to recall memories as we start to write and unknowingly draw upon the subconscious. We can find ourselves drawing upon experiences, places or people from our life. We may be surprised about the content or pleased to have tapped into our past. We might find that the memories help to fill some gaps in the way we understand our life. We might find some memories painful and in that case we may not be so keen to hold on to them.
Being aware that our memories are sitting just somewhere under the surface of our thoughts waiting to re-emerge can help us be ready and open. We can draw on these memories in our writing and in our life, learning more about ourselves and sharing this with those around us.