Posts tagged ‘memory’

6 July, 2011

Visiting Old Ghosts

It’s hard to go backwards in time. Memory is an evil, evil thing, and if you’re like me, your memory has the added caveat of not being very good. I remember faces, places, and bits of conversation, but I forget big things. I forget, years later, about the important conversations, the things that changed the world. The funny thing is, I can remember where we were when we had these tremendous conversations, but the content is often lost.

I remember romantically. I wish I had better control over it, and a lot of the writing I do is designed to help me see the whole picture, especially when it’s about something that I know I’m going to gloss over, or ignore altogether, ten years from now.

When I was a sixth grader, I remember the strange sense I had that people were larger than life, existed somehow outside of space and time. They were all powerful. I now see how tenuous control can be, and why it turns certain people into monsters, and others into mice.

I remember the tennis courts, and wailing on the tennis ball as hard as I could, missing half of the time, usually for the specific purpose of getting it over the 15-foot chain link fence.

I remember the library– the book displays are the same, even ten years later.

I remember the couch in my 6th grade teacher’s room, and the trolls and the castle she had in one corner, and the time metal vases that made me want to go to Greece for the very first time. She was the person that put the first spark of Greece in my brain.

Every day is a microcosm. Everything is a big deal. And no one gets it. And everyone is annoying. And bullying is everywhere, and you don’t know what to do about it. Weird thing is, a lot of those things feel the same way on the other side, as a teacher. This becomes your life.

12 March, 2011

Memento Mori

I think I have at least alluded to the pathetic state of my memory– it’s one of the reasons why I write. I write to remember. My brain is very, very good at forgetting. It has relegated important conversations to the space of dreams, and sometimes erased them all together.

Strange things get burned into my grey matter– I remember learning about cavities in kindergarten, and clouds in first grade. I remember being outraged at my kindergarten graduation present (Barney cookie cutters), but none of the names of my classmates. I remember learning the meaning of the middle finger, but still know the name of my first grade crush only because I wrote it down in a Lisa Frank diary with a bubblegum-dispenser-shaped lock on it. Needless to say, I broke the lock years later and devoured the memories hidden there (and then promptly forgot most of them again.)

I often wonder if there is a logic to what we remember and forget, or if the resonance is too abstract for even us to understand why some things get dutifully filed away, while so much is lost.

What will I forget, in a year? In a month? In a day? How long will it take me to forget, for example, the color of your eyes, or the incident with the cell phone? The time(s) time stopped? How long before even these obscure references don’t ring true? I leave myself these breadcrumbs back to my memories, hoping (usually in vain) that years later I’ll know. I’ll remember what I felt so strongly, what shook me to my core, and what adventures I had. Or, at least, that’s what I hope.

“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you.” –

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving