Rummaging through a container of memorabilia and story ideas this morning, I came across this old and very small newspaper cutting, quoting the late writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with a comment by him on remembering:
“Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it”
How very true. Yet, also how curious.
Memories are strange animals. We all think that our memories are truthful pictures of the past; pictures that reveal themselves to us again and again on recall. They are pictures that we know are accurate. They are mind pictures that tell us of what happened in years gone by. And, yet, it has been proved that several people may view the exact same occurrence and relate entirely different scenarios of what they ‘saw’. What they know they saw.
I have, in my memoir, recounted many memories that are absolutely true in my mind. However, I know that there are occasions recalled by me that may seem foreign to others, especially to my three sisters.I have never intended to tell any untruths, but have related what I see as truth in my memory’s eye.
The writer, Beth Yahp, wrote in the anthology, 'Sisters', “Our memory is a house we enter through different doors, in which we seldom encounter each other and are always surprised that we don’t…”
And from Cynthia Ozick:
“What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.”
Even Aldous Huxley had something to say: “Every man's memory is his private literature.”
To me, my private literature is there; set in concrete for my retrieval.
And yet, how am I to know how true it is? There is no going back to check.
So, perhaps Gabriel Garcia Marquez had the right attitude, when he placed importance merely on ‘how one remembers it in order to recount it’.
But, of course, today, every occasion - every action - is photographed or captured on video/film. So perhaps in the future there will be fewer disputes over ‘who is right’.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.