Memory and Change

Think Kit, Day Two! Still excited. Still blogging on not my computer.

Today’s prompt is straightforward: I am to tell you about a time this year that I changed my mind.

Possible problem: I don’t change my mind! (Not publicly. Not in a way I’d ever admit to. I’d find a way to back into the thing I now found myself believing, seamlessly retro-incorporating it into my way of being without raising attention to the difference. I mean, “difference.” …I’m only sort of joking.)

Okay, real problem: I can’t think of anything I changed my mind about this year! I can think of things I’m doing or have done that relate to past mind-changes, and I ~could~ write about that, but I feel like I’m on the doorstep of another thought and I’d like to go into that house instead.

It’s about memory.

Think Kitters and Dad and whomever else is out there reading: I have a terrible memory. And I’m going to say that, and it’s going to make no sense to some of you because you’re thinking, now wait a minute, Jackie, aren’t you a creative nonfiction writer? (Yes. Yes I am.) And doesn’t that sort of depend on the fact that you can remember things about yourself? (Yes. Yes it does.)

But let me explain.

Ask me what I wore or ate yesterday and I’ll be hard pressed to bring it to mind without a significant thinking break. I have no idea what I did last weekend. I can barely remember the reality of last winter, which may seem insane to my fellow Indy residents and others throughout the Midwest. When I face my memory head-on, asking it to give me something, I rarely get it. It doesn’t like demands, I guess.

Creative nonfiction writing, thankfully. doesn’t depend on this type of recall. I rarely ask myself to churn out prose about some event I’ve presupposed will be interesting to write about. Instead, I work off of triggers–something happens to me that makes me think of something else, and that’s my starting line for writing. Or sometimes the lady that lives in my head–my Memorybrarian–sweeps her hand across a dusty shelf and stirs up something inside of me, some long-forgotten moment that now materializes in my mind’s eye, and I can revisit that memory and see what’s going on there, and think through what it all might have meant or mean now.

The memories drop on me. Like the cage at the end of Mouse Trap. So I always start there, caught up–even if not literally–in the memory, in the confrontation that that memory is at the moment I’m receiving it. The memory reaching out to me, not me out to the memory.

Problem for prompt-based blogging: I don’t always get ideas from my brain when I want them. I’ve searched my mind all day for something that’s worth writing about, but it seems like the Memorybrarian is on vacation.

Interesting thought: Understanding of recent (let’s say, this past year) change isn’t sitting still inside of me, waiting for me to notice it. Instead, it’s the after, the result of a memory’s analysis. It’s the way I’ll come to understand something down the road when an unexpected memory collides with me and I realize, upon examination (the writer’s second life!), yes, indeed, this was a moment of change.

One Reply to “Memory and Change”

  1. Yes, I’m reading. But, I don’t have to remember to do so; it comes to me in my email. Unless I change my mind to have it do that.

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