MNP – 11/14/22 – The Persistence of Memory/ Sense Memory Writing Workshop

Adam Grant @AdamMGrant

“Writing is more than a vehicle for communicating ideas. It’s a tool for crystallizing ideas.

Writing exposes gaps in your knowledge and logic. It pushes you to articulate assumptions and consider counterarguments.

One of the best paths to sharper thinking is frequent writing.”

Sense Memory Writing Workshop: MNP 11/14/22

Think back to a time, very early on in your life,

in which people gathered for a meal. It doesn’t have to be for a holiday. It only matters that the meal is special or distinct somehow in your memory.

1. What sounds do you remember? Things said? Ambient noise? Entertainment in the background?

2. What sights do you remember? Individual dishes? People’s faces? Decorations? Table settings? Weather patterns?

3. What touches do you remember? The way things felt in your hand in their use? Embraces with loved ones? Eating with hands? Temperatures? Proximity to one another?

4. What tastes do you remember? (Challenge: Try to describe the tastes without naming the dish and with only minimal use of listing ingredients)

5. What smells do you remember? The food itself? The scented candles? Someone’s dog passing gas or a distinctive city smell? Someone’s perfume or the froth on a beverage?

6. What spiritual purposes were served by the meal? What inner movements did you personally experience? What core memories were stamped upon your being from this instance? What was being celebrated or mourned if anything?

Using your personal responses to the field of questions surrounding your six senses, formulate a short poem (approx. 25 lines or less) which best encapsulates the overall experience of the meal at a young age.

Be sure to include a conclusion or summary of some sort which allows your audience to know your personal take away message or point of growth given the years of retrospect since the memorable event.


The Persistence of Memory (Catalan: La persistència de la memòria) is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí and one of the most recognizable works of Surrealism. First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referred to in popular culture,[1] and sometimes referred to by more descriptive titles, such as “Melting Clocks”, “The Soft Watches” or “The Melting Watches”.

— Source: Wikipedia


The Persistence of Memory

For further personal reading:


“You welcome your children into the world knowing that if all goes the way you plan, you won’t get to see the end of their story. It seems a sad notion until you realize that’s what gives you hope for the future.”

— David Mack, The Persistence of Memory (Star Trek TNG: Cold Equations, #1)

“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”

Bob Dylan

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.”

Gretchen Rubin

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”

Alek Wek

“You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories.”

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

“In the egoic state, your sense of self, your identity, is derived from your thinking mind – in other words, what your mind tells you about yourself: the storyline of you, the memories, the expectations, all the thoughts that go through your head continuously and the emotions that reflect those thoughts. All those things make up your sense of self.”

Eckhart Tolle

“Memory is quite central for me. Part of it is that I like the actual texture of writing through memory. I like the atmospheres that result if episodes are narrated through the haze of memory.”

Kazuo Ishiguro


Being heard, stirred, and perhaps cured by life's many hidden images and the written-spoken word.
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