Memory

Memory is like a carpet woven of so many complex shifting threads, some bright and glittering, others so sombre. It seems to give me such a solid sense of who I am, and yet, upon investigation, its solidity melts away.

What are the kinds of memories that preoccupy us? Memories of pleasure, certainly. I can wake in the morning with a clear memory of the intimacy of a particular moment in a relationship: the waves of emotion, happiness, dependence. the joy of possessing another. But, equally, the memories of loss, of shame, of grief, of failure. The two kinds of memories are so intimately connected.

The reach of memory spans the sublime and the ridiculous. Yesterday my love told me I was extraordinary. Yesterday I thought of my mother. Yesterday I remembered my dental appointment. Yesterday I recollected the smell of a cake eaten in childhood. I then remembered my childhood. It was happy. Or not.

As I watch my memories and become aware of them, I understand their richness as well as the ways in which they create my present moment. Memory itself seems to be constructed by my moods, my personality, my wish to remember a certain version of events. Memories, even the most “real” ones, may well be pure fabrications. Why do our respective versions of truth vary so often, even over mundane details?

I would like to create a “memory map” with each one of you. A simple thing: just a recollection of an event, posted as a reply, along with your evaluation of its veracity, its stamp on reality. A long thread of memories, interlinked, commenting on each other and on themselves, on this post. A symbol, in some way, of the beauty and elusive quality of memory itself.

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