Elena Saavedra Buckley

When the Pulitzer-winning composer Caroline Shaw wants a snack, she soft-boils an egg. She knows that six minutes and 15 seconds leads to the ideal texture — a jammy yolk, with a chalky outer edge and a flowing center. But her ritual for the past few years has been to surrender the process to music, letting whatever she's listening to that day dictate the precise cook time.

Even the clearest recollections from childhood tend to be coauthored by time and imagination. Looking back on early memories, fun or frightening, we know the mind can play tricks on itself. Did everything happen exactly as our adult brains remember?