They can be complicated. There can be no doubt that our current emotions and beliefs shape the memories that we create.
When we look back into the past, we are always doing so through a prism of intervening selves. But Woolf also acknowledges an inconvenient fact.
In her autobiographical essay, A Sketch of the Past, she tells us that one of her earliest memories is of the pattern of flowers on her mother's dress, seen close-up as she rested on her lap during a train journey to St Ives.
The great pioneer of memory research, Daniel Schacter, has argued that, even when it is failing, memory is doing exactly the thing it is supposed to do.
He then began to think about his hooves, and he wished his hooves were as big and majestic as his antlers were. Metaphors, sure. It makes sense, since feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are classic symptoms of depression, that feeling in control would be good for mental health.
Even highly emotional memories are susceptible to distortion.