Now. Why I write what I write. Redefenitions.

memory

1. The cut-off date


(a) I begin to figure things out

The cut-off date for what is a memory and suitable for exploring, and what is not, is, for me, college. Anything that happened before then is Memory, true and hallowed and shining with the vibrations of another time entirely. After college, events are simply part of the long chain of events that leads to, and is encompassed by, the eternal Now, where I sit and live and write these words. What the four years of college were, I’m not exactly sure, other than a transitional time.

Before college, life was essentially out of my hands. My major decisions were made for me: where to live, where to go to school, what to eat, what to wear. After college, I am a married woman and my life as an adult is my own. Thus, I am concentrating on memories of things that occurred that I could not have helped, events where I never could have won, and in which I only rarely had a chance to break even. They are also the events that happened the longest time ago, and due to sheer passage of large amounts of time, have begun for me to take on a mythic quality.

But is it all of that life that’s mythic or tragic? Judging from what I have written so far, no. Not the tragic part, at any rate. It’s true that my mother and I never got along at all since I was about thirteen. But most of my memories are simply that — memories — and neither tragic nor miraculous. Back then, if I had pain, I would cling to it with the idea that if I didn’t let the pain go, it would become meaningless, and so would the fact that I had survived it.

It becomes meaningless anyway; there’s no helping for that.

Slowly this day as I write, and think about what I have already written, I have had two major feelings, the first being an astonishment that I haven’t yet written a word about how evil a creature that my mother was. The second feeling is that of the slowly-dawning realization that I do not have to allow those particular memories to be any part at all of my current life’s outlook.

I have lived in this house longer than I lived in my parents’ house. I have been married to Buck longer than I was single. I don’t even have to keep the training wheels handy in the attic any longer. They can be thrown out, and I will never miss them. I am forgetting them already.

(b) Beginning again

What this means is that I begin again. I begin again to look at my life with new eyes. They say, or at least imply, that this happens when one goes through a bout of cancer, which I have just done.

I thought that the above implication was simply a trite attempt at philosophizing on the part of various screenwriters. It turns out that I was wrong. I am rethinking my life, and doing so after my bout with cancer; is it therefore because of the cancer? Yes or no — take your pick. Either answer could work in this instance.

I don’t see anything related to cancer in this line of reasoning, but perhaps I am simply too close to my subject to see. Then again it is possible that the who process of re-thinking was started indirectly by the great changes in myself that could have been the result of any great illness. This sounds the most likely route for this particular change to have happened. I am glad of it.

Now playing on iTunes: Falling from the album “Breathe” by Blue Stone

The Author

I read and I write and I think. I survive.

4 Comments

  1. I think that the cancer is a factor, but not the controlling factor: after a certain age, we have a tendency to take inventory and make changes based on the things we find (or don’t find). I know I was doing this long before they hung the big Diabetic placard on me.

  2. Librarian says

    Now it’s time to write a novel and then another novel.
    Not memoirs.
    Get on it.

  3. Memory… I agree, prior to college is different than after. And I’ve noticed that all those longer-term memories are getting less granular now. Or they are smoothing out, not as strong or bright as they used to be. Maybe it’s just more a matter of living in the moment, something that (in my opinion) we get better at doing as mature.

  4. cathy herriman says

    Memory plays tricks. Different tricks at different ages ,I’m discovering. I’m reaching back into yours on this blog–and finding my own here and there.

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