Picture this: You’re writing a memoir. In order to bring the reader along with you as you ride your roller coaster down memory lane, it’s crucial to use vivid descriptions of the numerous events you describe. But you have pretty much zero visual memory.
Try to describe what the hospital room looked like…nada.
Try to describe your how your child looked…you draw a blank.
Your honeymoon? Yep, nothing.
I have Aphantasia. I lack the ability to visualize. I read a book, and no movie plays in my head. In fact, when an author spends a paragraph or two describing a setting or a character’s appearance, I skim because it’s just words to me.
Here I am, writing my heart out about some of the most poignant memories of my life, and I completely lack the ability to give the reader a mental picture. I try to remember, I try to describe, and it feels contrived and artificial. I’m preparing to edit my book into a second draft, and for the first time since deciding to do this project, I’m second guessing. I’m concerned that my “blind mind’s eye” is too big of a hinderance to story telling, I’m worried that I can’t overcome this barrier, that I won’t be able to give my readers the story they deserve.
I’m going to give it a shot. I’m going back in to revise my story and add in some of the details. I’m not sure how it will turn out, but I’m thinking that if Beethoven composed masterpieces while deaf then I suppose it’s possible that I can maybe find ways to describe things that I cannot visualize. My hope is that by being cognizant of this obstacle I will be able to work through it. I might have to dig through old pictures or possibly even make up some of the visual details. I mean, how hospital rooms look largely the same, right?
We’ll see. I’m not giving up just yet.