Tuesday, December 20, 2022


 "but memoir mocks me," i laugh, "with the very thing it requires.  memory."

memories are fallible.  they change over time.  some become recollection, some rehearsed, some recitation of something reasonably close to the original memory.  some disappear entirely.  two people can experience the exact same event, share the exact same conversation, yet have completely different recollections of it...if they remember it all.  i remember telling some of these stories long ago; i remember exactly which ones i wrote down in college, in a black moleskin journal during a very up and down time.  those memories are gone now, leaving in their wake the simple memory of having once written them down.  i remembered more then.  i also remembered less.

when i remember the rider, it happened in saguaro national park.  that’s impossible, of course, because the rider happened when i lived on campus, so it most likely was sabino canyon.  when i remember the ugly t-shirt, it happens in the warehouse with the velvet elvis poster on the bathroom door, but that’s impossible too.  my memory is not reliable.  my memory is false.  my memories themselves are real.  real enough that i remember the things i don’t remember at all.  and this is how the stories come: disjointed.  christmas in august in fiji, summer in a snowstorm in transylvania county, skateboard wheels and lollipops in a brazilian girl’s jewelry box at burning man  unbidden, unordered, uninvited.  but still they come.

some are interpreted though the lenses of fear, loss, poverty.  some are romanticized, sprinkled with sunlight and sunsets, dusted with campfire flames, sweetened with a look that cut right through me and messages i apparently only sent to myself. some are the stories i made up to trick myself, the only way i could connect the dots, get up in the morning, go to sleep at night, survive another day.  some, like the gunshot, are nothing more than scar tissue. the trauma brain, in protecting its host, destroys its memory to splice it back together into something bearable.  one is left with shreds.  fragments. gaping black holes of absolute nothingness while at the same time wishing my head could sometimes forget the years of things my eyes have seen, but are hungry to remember the feelings dulled by time.

i think its fair to say that we are left with the knowledge that our very own life has been redacted.

if I told my story exactly as i remember it, it wouldn’t be true.  it couldn’t be true.  time transforms memory.  our lens transforms memory.  trauma, joy, life experience and even love and pleasure itself transforms memory.  you remember it this way and i remember it that way.  i remember things that you don’t, and you remember things that i don’t.  true, false, falsified, lied.  what is autobiography to begin with?  aren’t we all, to some extent, figments of our own imaginations? 

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