How Does Writing and Re-writing Change Memory?

Bisquick Easy Deep Dish Pizza

It’s weird, how memories come back slowly, at least that’s how it works for me.  I’ve been working on this essay / chapter and I wrote that I didn’t recall ever eating pizza with my Mom, that I couldn’t recall what her favorite pizza was, and that it made me sad.  I wrote  “Maybe we just weren’t pizza eating people.”

I swear a week ago that felt completely true.  But as I am re-writing (in the manner suggested by the illustrious Gregory Martin, aka my advisor) an image came to me of Lefty’s Pizza Parlor in San Diego. It was near Miss Vernetta’s Dance Studio and the old Jack in the Box on Morena Drive.  I would almost swear I remember playing foosball there.

I still can’t remember actually eating pizza there, but I felt one step closer.

Then I remembered Shakey’s Pizza.  It seems like it was a place we would go after a dance recital or event.  Still, no memory of eating pizza.

I opted to not add these not-quite-formed memories of not eating pizza into the essay.

Now, as I’m typing this, I remember a pizza we made, together–my mother, my sister and I–with a crust made of Bisquick.  It was more of a pizza pie filled with ground beef and green bell peppers.  If I close my eyes I can almost taste it– the tangy tomato sauce base, the salty beef and sweet bell peppers….

And so I did what I always do when I’m curious about something, I google. (Actually, I used to go to the Encyclopedia, but The Internet is so much better.)

I found the recipe, “Easy Deep Dish Pizza.”

If it ever gets cool enough to turn on my oven again, I may just make this pizza.  Cooking is one of the ways I can bring back memories of my mother.

I won’t however, add this detail to my essay; it just doesn’t fit.


2 thoughts on “How Does Writing and Re-writing Change Memory?

  1. The next to the last paragraph:
    “If it ever gets cool enough to turn on my oven again, I may just make this pizza. Cooking is one of the ways I can bring back memories of my mother.”
    Sounds extremely (to me anyway)like the ‘bitter-end’ of a golden thread that REALLY could lead somewhere…. It’s all so thesis-istic sounding. Whatchoo’ think? So it doesn’t fit into a current essay. SPIN IT! Make another essay, it’s a totally awesome rad metaphoric riff line. (as if any word we use isn’t symbolic enough) You know–sistah, I’m justa’ sayin’. Jazz with it, ‘make it work.’ Carry on….


  2. As a kid, we made pizzas from a “pizza kit” that came in a box (I forget the manufacturer’s name) with a can of sauce, a box of pre-prepped dough), a container of shredded cheese, and instructions. Open, mix, flatten, pour, place raw pizza on pan, and insert into a preheated oven. Soon, smell the aroma, then remove at appointed time. Not much involved in creating heavenly (then, not now) ambrosia for the deities. Great memory you triggered. Any chance you followed the same recipe from the same kit across this giant country and a decade or so later?


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