Abigail Thomas writes in her Thinking About Memoir that "memories survive on a wisp of fragrance, or a particular shade of blue, or a song that reminds you of a song, and you don't want to miss anything."
I've taken up photography as a mad passion the last couple of years. I was always a picture taker but now more than any other time in my life, I feel the need to document everyday happenings. I have a horrible memory and I'm afraid it is not getting better. I tell myself it's because there is no room remaining in my very full hard-drive of a brain. However, there are times when stuff from very long ago bubbles up out of nowhere. I'm amazed and intrigued by the memories that have survived years of being buried at the bottom of the burn pile, still smoldering and hot.
I started writing memoir last year. The date on my document is exactly one year ago this month. I have not opened that file or added to it since I closed it. It got too painful. And, I hadn't even hardly gotten started. Abigail writes: "Truth is what I'm ultimately after, truth or clarity ... once in a while you come too close to a nerve, and your writing goes flat, and your first thought might be to change the subject."
She nails it.
Why write memoir?
One more passage from Abigail's book I'll leave you with really shook me this morning, especially the last line:
"My husband, Rich, lost his memory after he was hit by a car and suffered traumatic brain injury. In a moment of perfect clarity he once described his loss like this: "Pretend you are walking up the street with your friend. You are looking in windows. But right behind you is a man with a huge paint roller filled with white paint and he is painting over everywhere you've been, erasing everything. He erases your friend. You don't even remember his name." It's terrifying. Because who are we without five minutes ago?
Are you a writer or photographer? Do you have a good memory? Do you wish you only remembered the good things?