Write daily, post weekly.

Musings on memory

What are our first memories? Retellings of stories from our parents? A photo that brings back a moment in time? And how much of it is interpretation?

A sunny day, it must have been late summer…

We tell our stories after the event and we select the parts we wish to tell. This story is no exception.

My memories are a re-collection of what has been scattered long ago. Through them I call people back to life and give them voice. But it can never be their voice. For one, I am writing my story in a language foreign to me as a child. Now, as an adult, I can no longer think in the language of so long ago. Not only do I allow my parents, relatives and friends to speak freely in English, I portray whole countries to have this miraculous ability.

I am separated from the child I was in time, place and language. I am truthful to myself in what I recall but know that there are many such truths, some competing with the one I present. By re-membering my past, I re-collect some of the fragments and present them here as a unified text.

I acknowledge the revelatory power of memory. Some things can only be understood with hindsight and with the discernment of an adult mind. Yet I want to capture the essence of that child I left behind and how she sees and makes sense of the ineffable world she inhabits.

Maybe this is why I originally chose to write my story in the third person although since then I have reverted back to the more traditional first person voice. That young girl I summon is a part of me but she is no longer me. She can be conjured up at will and, as the narrator, I am the puppeteer making her dance once more.

How do we know what really happened? Who is left to contest it? I leave it to you to decide. I tried to verify as best as I could but much of my family history is shrouded in secrecy. No-one was ever keen to talk of the past.

I pay respect to you, my reader. For you bring your own thoughts, experiences and memories to make sense of the world I present. You will add meaning through your interpretation and each of you will see the fleeting scenes of my memory differently. Will they bear semblance to my internalised and lived past? Probably not. But there is a higher truth in imagination that goes beyond the exterior of things and, in reading, I trust you to inscribe that reality.

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