Creating Memories from Stories

Last week, I did something that was unusual for me – I took a day off and went into an actual theater to see two movies (now there’s yet another industry that’s been turned upside down by technology, although it’s actually been under assault longer than publishing has, since back when Beta and VHS started keeping people at home.)

In the evening, I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I remember when I first went to see the original Star Wars (it’s now subtitled A New Hope, but when I saw it there were no other Star Wars movies yet, so it didn’t have a subtitle; sort of like World War I was just The Great War until WWII came along): when I was driving up the highway afterwards, I felt like I was flying an X-wing (it helped that it was night), and this most recent one had somewhat the same impact. It was less so this time – perhaps the difference between my being 20 and 60? Every audience member brings different things to the show, even depending on when (in their life) they go.

I’ve heard that a story, when well done (or maybe even when not) creates memories within the reader as though they have actually experienced what they’ve read, and the same is true for movies. Books are good at giving you ideas and feelings, while movies are better at implanting visuals, and physical sensations. I wonder what will happen when we finally have an effective olfactory presentation format (smell-avision), considering how much memories are deeply tied to odors.

I used to be an actor. There are some people who believe that if you made your body perform the physical aspects of an emotion (by frowning, or gritting your teeth, say), you will then experience the emotion. I think that’s how a movie can affect you – the music, or the visuals, or even the pacing of action, can affect your heartrate so that you FEEL what they want you to. Others say that you make yourself feel the emotion (by dredging up something from your own past), and then the physical attributes come forth from the emotion itself. I think reading a book is along these lines – it helps you relate  the thoughts and feelings it’s portraying to your own experiences.

In the morning I saw 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Disclaimer here – I went to see this movie because, even though I think I have a better understanding of what happened there on September 11, 2012 than a majority of the public, my interest has been from a more political angle than what actually happened on the ground. The movie does a good job of steering clear of the political and keeping focus on the human aspects of warriors put in an impossible position in a dangerous place. I found myself in tears several times once the battle had started; I don’t know if it was just expert movie-manipulation (image sequencing, music, scene editing, camera angles, what have you) and the craftsmanship was just that good, or if it was added to by an attitude I brought into my viewing. It would be interesting to get the read of someone who knows nothing about Benghazi, as well as someone who knows of it, but approaches it from a different ideological bent (problem is, I don’t believe the latter’s belief system would even allow them to view the film.) Regardless, I applaud the people who produced 13 Hours; they succeeded in not only causing me to spend the drive home looking over my shoulder, but they have given a lasting memory of an experience that I will never live through myself.

Good storytelling entertains, but it also helps us understand elements of the human condition that we would likely never experience otherwise. And it makes us think.

I hope someday to be a good enough writer to do this for others.

Just saying…


The “Ultimate Awareness” preorder promo continues until its February 12th release:

Omnius has relied on his Ultimate Awareness to dominate the city as well as any supervillain could, but an interview with a prospective sidekick casts doubt on both his own limits and his career path. How much does he really know?

The preorder is available at multiple sellers all over the internet, including:




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Behind the 8-Ball”, can be found in many places, including:



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