Saturday, July 31, 2010

On writing ...

When I started writing my book I thought it would come together quickly and easily. After all, I had lived it, all I had to do was write it down. But as it turned out, transferring a picture in your mind and all the feelings that go with it into words is not easy at all. It's not just the moment, it's everything around that moment that makes the moment memorable.

That's why I put the Cesare Pavese quotation at the beginning: "We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten."

I found this image on the internet and it seemed to capture the way the door opened to my past as I was writing. As I wrote I was sometimes surprised at how wrong I was about when some things had happened. I had associated memories with events, but when I researched the events, what I was remembering hadn't happened then, it had happened at another time. While checking the dates I would come across other events that I had forgotten were happening at that time. They were part of the memory and I needed to put them in to create the context for who I was and what I was doing.

I was lucky to be writing about a time that I really enjoyed and that meant a lot to me. Going back through the years and years of memories was mostly fun, although the frustration and the sadness I experienced then was often difficult to revisit. Even after all these years, I cry when I see news footage of JFK being shot and of demonstrations where billy clubs are crashing on people's heads. And when I think of my sister. We would have had so much fun sharing these memories.

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