Three times this week I have found myself regaling people with stories of 25+ years ago and having them draw a total blank on me. Do I have a great memory (selective, for sure) or am I making things up? No, no, I know the stories are there even if people who were present do not remember anything, and I’ve told these stories because I am looking to shed some light on the details only to have the subjects taken aback that I remember such things at all. We both come away a little unnerved, I think, but I am alternately blessed and tormented by the need to recall these stories and make them whole somehow. Most of them are sitting on my hard drive, waiting for the final nod which may or may not come.
This mining of the past is in fact a family trait – there are others whose memories are even more vivid and detailed than my own, which may explain the countless hours we spend around the dining table, swapping new stories and comparing versions of the ones we tell over and over and over. Favorite topics: funerals, weddings, movies, food and church, not necessarily in that order. It is the legacy of a big family.
Will this get me to write more – or less? At this moment, I think more. To butcher a famous phrase: better get busy remembering or get busy forgetting.