I have a friend that excels at re-writing her memories to “fit” what she believes. A couple summers ago, while on the phone with her, I saw what I thought were hummingbirds fly through my front yard and off down the block. I exclaimed over the sight. On reflection, they were probably only finches, but it was evening, and hummingbirds are known to congregate in my yard. But not in such large quantities. Recently, my friend has told others about “our” experience seeing the hummingbirds fly through my yard. But she was never there. She’s owned it as if she saw it.
I’m not quite sure how this works. Claiming someone else’s memory or experience as your own. It intrigues me greatly. Like aren’t there great gaps in the vision of the event? How do you make colour, lighting, your own physical placement in the scene fit? To incorporate yourself into someone else’s life like that, you would need to re-envision everything. Although it is the weirest thing to me, it is the type of thing writer’s excel in.
But let’s take it one step further. We create the world our characters live in. We imagine place, setting, interactions. Now what if your character re-imagines those events? What if in a later scene, your character relates information from an event they never saw or took part in? Is it recurring? Why would a person do it? My friend only does this because she wants so badly to have witnessed something like a flock of hummingbirds, so she paints herself into my experience. That makes it real for her. Too bad those hummingbirds were probably just finches.