Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One of my most favorite things in the world is remembering. Some things are even better in remembering than they were when they originally happened. Even just the act of remembering is like eating chocolate or taking a hot shower - it's pleasant and comforting and seems to release endorphins into my system. I like remembering.

But the older I get, the worse I am at remembering things. And I'm not that old! I don't think it's a matter of having a bad memory (although I suppose that's very possible) but it's the way I regard time. Can you believe 2007 was two years ago? It feel like just yesterday. I don't both to remember things that happened just yesterday. And because I don't remember them, once substantial time has passed, it's impossible for me to remember what actually happened.

If you were to ask me to give you an overview of 2007, I don't think I could. I mean, maybe I could, having just gone through Xanga entries chronicling that time, but without such a reference I think I'd come up blank. This is the Godsend of journalling. If I remember along the way, I have a reference for later. I am quickly discovering what a useful reference tool my journal is. That's why, no matter how embarrassing its contents are, I could never burn it. I need those memories, no matter how silly they are. Eventually enough time will pass that I won't mind how silly I was.

But lately (and I suppose by lately I mean the past year, but who really knows, now that we've established I have a warped perception of time) I haven't been journalling about actually events. Why would I write about something I already know, something that just happened? That's not interesting to write. I don't want writing to be a chore, but I want to be able to remember what's happening year to year.

But then sometimes my memory surprises me. Someone will say something, and it will jog something I had completely forgotten. The other day I found myself reciting an obscure Bible verse I had memorized when I was ten that I hadn't heard since. Just when I start to think my memory is undependable, it surprises me by acting like (and excuse the bizarre comparison) Mac OS X Leopard's Timeline feature.

I think, next to reasoning and imagination, memory is the most wonderful faculty granted to human beings.

(For the sake of memory, a brief overview of the past few weeks: Dad's been out of work since December 17th for recovery after surgery to fix his torn meniscus, and it's been odd but wonderful having him home all day. And the entire United States seems to have come down with the most horrendous cold, Mom and I included. And I have finally come to terms with the fact that I don't care for screamo music as an overall genre. And I just read two excellent books: The Book Thief and The Hunger Games. The end.)

See, that makes me feel silly. But I'll probably appreciate it later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about memories. In "Out of the silent planet" (Which you must read) Lewis makes the point (through a character) that an experiences is not complete without the memory of it, that memory is a part of the experience itself.
Great quote from What Sarah said: "It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds." I've been obsessed with that line for days. Our memories are so faulty and err so often!
Anyway, Grace read this book a while back by
Milan Kundera called "Ignorance". The central idea of the novel was that memory is like ignorance, and the longer it's been since the event, the fuzzier it gets and the more we "invent" what happened.

"it surprises me by acting like (and excuse the bizarre comparison) Mac OS X Leopard's Timeline feature."
(Elliot would be proud.)
I'll be praying for your dad (I thought immediately of when water curved up on the side of a cup when you wrote "meniscus")