It is not a safe place to go. You’d think that because the past is past, it’s unchanging. But, for those of us who mine the past for inspiration, It can be full of eddies, gyres, rip tides, and currents. It’s true, it lacks a pulse, but that hardly matters.
Think about the unresolved. It sits on your chest like a mighty reservoir that strains against its banks. You delve into it for an idea, an amusing story. But instead, it insists that there is more to it than you ever analyzed.
One night you are driving along a dark road, and the meaning of that little suppressed memory borrows up into plain thought. It’s much more embarrassing or rage-producing than you guessed. You are glad that this did not occur to you while writing. It’s just too painful for public display.
But while elucidating the memory, you follow just a single thread to a new idea for a story.
The past may be dead. But it is not unchanging.