I call upon my memories to colour my characters so that they emote and take a course of action that I would never consider. There are 2 definitions of "memories" and I stand in between; the first for the psychoanalyst: "conscious representation of the past suspected of being, at least in part, illusory." The second is: "mental capacity of retaining and recalling facts." As a writer, I can dip into both and pull out what I need for my books.
Memories can alter over time. What was once a hurtful experience can be viewed as a life lesson whereas some can fester so that we become entrenched and to then be able to release them across a page, sets them free; a form of making peace, if you will.
While writing, memories can be so thick that when using them to influence a story is reliving the experience on a different level of intensity. I used to love watching Denny Crane battle with his demon dementia; he was waiting for his memories to override his daily life or at other times to go completely. The reality is that it's no laughing matter despite the ludicrous situation of eventually returning to the state of an infant.
I read with wonder how brain surgeons discovered that patients often recalled lost memories whilst being operated on. They experienced them in a linear pattern but condensed into seconds. It is said that one sees their whole life before them during their final moments.
A writer's words can be remembered by complete strangers and words can touch them, evoke opinions and evey influence them in their daily lives. But, the writer's words are also a testament to the influences that shaped them and so, to me, loss of memory would be agony as I would no longer be able to write and then have new memories to feed upon.
Before I was a writer, I had a healthy respect for my more hurtful memories but very seldom liked to "go there." Now, they are a source of strength and I find that while I considered my more tender moments as a no go area I'd also inadvertantly pushed happier memories to one side. If multiverses exist, as opposed to one universe, then I often think what kind of stuff are my counterparts writing in any of them?