There is something so fragile, so sadly transient about image and memory.
Fiction writers can either perpetuate myths or they can debunk them. Today is what Americans call Thanksgiving. The cold cases in the supermarkets have been stuffed with brined turkeys, all neatly packaged and bar coded, all week. But today I will not be eating turkey. My soul aches when I see homeless people who are brought out to eat a charity feast once a year. I will not be commemorating a myth that is largely false.
Memory is maddeningly subjective and infinitely malleable. As in asking someone to identify a perpetrator in a lineup. Or to recall events on Thursday, November 6, 1986. Some people can do a very convincing job.
Okay, I’m not a therapist by any stretch. But one of the things I’m learning about writing is that you can re-visit your regrets and write about them in a blog or letter or story or book. You can keep them private or publicize them. But getting them out into the open can be cleansing and healing.
I’ve been feeling uneasy as memories are stirred up on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima triple disaster. I’ve been reading news and tweets all over the place about the after effects of radiation that continue to show up around the planet. After saturating myself with “facts” and opinions, I realized what I really needed was the perspective of an artist who looks beneath the surface of things, who observes life from Japanese writer Haruki Murakami the eye of the heart.
As a writer I have to make a concerted effort to observe things with my eyes and ears, what’s going on around me, what people are there, what they are doing and saying, and what’s in the room or on the street. Observation is the lifeblood of inspiration and depth in one’s work.
It was a rainy fall day and I took a walk past the blackberry bushes, up a road I’d never seen and took notes about everything I could. I tried hard to avoid my own thoughts, to save that for my journal.
I was an only, lonely child. I had no other relatives except one pair of adoptive parents and one pair of adoptive grandparents. That’s it. And my father’s occupation required … Continue reading
You know the old saying, “a house is not a home,” right? I’ve moved around so much in my life since the day I was born that I’ve never really … Continue reading