“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.”
As a little girl, I never kept a diary. I remember what they looked like though. They were some shade of pink or purple. They were often coated in puffy plastic or fuzzy felt and decorated with predictable items like hearts, unicorns, rainbows, or butterflies. Invariably, they had a tiny little padlock and a pair of silver keys. Why do I remember so well what they looked like? Because I had several. Given to me for birthdays. And I remember liking the idea of them, the idea of spilling my young self and my secret crushes onto those pastel pages, but I never followed through. I let those diaries stack up.
And now. Flooded with this random memory of a childhood choice, I am intrigued by the idea of memory. Why do we remember what we remember? Why do I remember these little books which I chose not to write in? I don’t know. Maybe it is that memory, like most things in life, has an inexplicable and opaque essence. Or maybe it is that there was something important about my memory. Something symbolic. Maybe I didn’t write in those journals because I didn’t like the idea of memorializing my moments. Maybe I was more interested in living my moments than in recording them. Or maybe there was nothing meaningful about that tall stack of empty pages.
But what’s interesting to me today is that this is a diary. This blog. This blog is the diary I never kept as a girl. The place where I shed words like tears. The place where I record my stories serious and silly. The place where I store bits and pieces of myself in an effort to remember. And here? There is no padlock. There is no privacy. Rather, this is an open book, pages flipping in the wind. This diary is not just for my eyes. Why am I open to doing this, maintaining this public diary, when I wouldn’t even keep a private journal as a girl?
I don’t know. But I have some ideas. And Oscar Wilde’s words above give me some direction. He said, Memory is the diary we all carry about with us. And isn’t he right? We walk around this world, meandering through our days, toting with us our memories. And memory is its own kind of diary. Unique. Because we do not choose what we put in it. We do not choose how its pages are filled. What we remember? This is not up to us.
And so. This blog? This digital diary of mine? It’s a joy to keep, but it’s also something else. It’s an attempt at control. By writing these words here, I am attempting to control what I do and do not remember. I paint the pictures I want to paint – of my darling kids, of my loving man, of my existential angst, of my dense dreams – and then I hit publish. But the reality is that once I hit publish, it is not over. There are other things, cruel and amazing, that find me. Other memories.
And sometimes the memories are welcome. The bring me back. They make me smile. They make me realize that my life right now is the storehouse of of future memories.
But sometimes they are hard. Impossible. Sometimes, as I am lying in bed, the ceiling fan whispering in my ear, I remember myself as a little girl when things were so simple. When Sundays were donut days. When Dad was here and my family was whole. Sometimes, as I am lying in bed, the pages of memory write themselves and I remember the blue eyes and deep laugh of a man who I will never see again. And when this happens, as it so often does, I try to fight tears and lose.
But then I sleep.
And I wake up. And come here. To this place. To these pages. And, to a soundtrack of little girl giggles and big girl fears, I write. These words. One after the other. And today I see these words for what they are. They are attempts. To control. To remember what I want. What’s a bit easier.
Thankfully, it doesn’t work this way. Thankfully, memory does its own thing, making life richer and harder and far more beautiful.
- Did you keep a diary as a child?
- Do you think that blogs are digital diaries or something else?
- Do you blog in an attempt to remember what you want about your current life?
- Do you think that Memory is indeed a diary that we carry with us through our days? Do you agree that the pages write themselves and we have little control over what we recall?
- Are you ever slapped with random memories that make you smile or make you sad?
If you haven’t yet (or even if you have), please click the below image to pre-order Life After Yes. Or roll your eyes and ignore these words. The thing is that publication is a mere four days away and I feel a bit helpless here. And so I continue on with Operation Beg and Beg Some More. Just so you know, you guys are making a real difference. LAY climbed as high as #3,200 in the Amazon rankings yesterday. How high can we climb today? Let’s see… Thank you, all.