Thoughts on Memory…

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A few weeks ago I started back at university for my third year to a mixture of excitement and slight dread. New classes, new faces, and not only that, but this could be my last year at university. Scary huh!?

Anywho, one subject I’m taking this semester is a ‘writing creative nonfiction’ class in which we spend the semester reading and writing various forms of creative non-fiction, basically, pretty much what it says on the box. So far we’ve done a number of small writing tasks, from a number of different prompts. The first couple of these that I have written got me thinking about memory, and the complexities and limitations which memories encompass.

It was the first task more than the second which left me in a state of what I can now only call confusion, with more questions arising from the piece than I set out to answer. The piece we had to write was titled ‘notes of a childhood’**, a writing task where we had to write a form of poetic list detailing some events from our childhood. The very broad task description brought up some interesting memories, some were more funny, while others are ones I’ve never forgotten. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t get them out of my head. It was here that the memory question came up…as even though I have had this one memory of the first time I saw Dad cry embedded in my mind from the age of about 15, both Mum and my sister have a memory of that day which unfolds a little differently to mine.

So, I ask myself, which is true?

Though difficult, this isn’t impossible to answer, that is if it is a question I really want to answer at all. The way I see it, no memory is really completely true. As there is no way to record everything within your mind exactly as it happened. As a twenty-one year old remembering something which happened about six years ago, there is every possibility the strong emotions I was feeling that day have embellished and elaborated on that image in my mind.

So then, how true can that memory really be?

To speak truthfully here, there isn’t really any way of knowing. I did ask Mum, as well as my sister but they both have very different ideas of what happened that day. My sister not thinking that day occurred at all, while talking about it with Mum didn’t help much either, and Dad, I can’t bring myself to ask him about it. Not yet anyway. I’ve replayed that day so many times in my head now since it occurred that I am not sure if it really happened at all or even to that extent. On that same note though, I am not sure if I could create such a real depiction of the way I felt that day. Feeling that helpless, that unsure of what to do, I’m sure it has to be real – emotions like that have to be based somewhere, right?

Do the inconsistencies cancel out the validity of my own memory?

Here, some may say yes. “Yes, the only truth is in that which is consistent through each and every story of one event.” I, however, disagree. Though my family may have a very different version of how the events that day unfolded, what I remember is my own. What I remember is true for me, and that won’t ever change. In my eyes what happened has shaped the way I relate to others, and shaped how I place myself as the ‘carer’ or ‘peace maker’ every time something occurs where someone needs to step up to that role. Knowing the truth of how real that memory is won’t change that aspect of my personality, and honestly, I wouldn’t want it to.

…but either way here, whatever we believe, does it matter?

Honestly? For some it does, for some it may not. Memory is a very personal thing. So while some memories fade and some persist within our minds, what matters is what we make of them.

~

**I’d post what I wrote for the task which sparked all this thinking here but for the fear of some sort of ‘perceived plagiarising’/’self-plagiarising’ disaster or similar with the university, maybe after the semester is over I will…

Book Review: Me Before You, Jo Jo Moyes

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

My Thoughts:
This was an utterly beautiful read! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started it but I rather quickly fell in love with the characters And got completely sucked into the story. It got to a point in the process of my read where I just couldn’t seem to be able to stop reading. Thus I ended up finishing it at nearly 3:00am.

Me Before You sets out a story which both asks and answers the difficult questions of the preciousness of life and what ‘living’ really means. In this way, finishing this novel left me somewhat stunned. It didn’t end in the tear fest I had expected, yet it left me with a mixture of emotions I didn’t really know how to explain. All I could do was lie in bed and ponder what I’d just read until I fell asleep a good while later. I found the small bouts of humour cleverly and well placed, especially in regards to Will’s sarcasm. Something I seemed to connect with right from the start.

Moyes wrote in such a way which really drew me in and hooked me into the romance of it all. Despite the almost obvious outcome and ending I was taken on a long on a ride which  contrary to my expectations, I rather enjoyed. There was a certain tenderness to the characters, even the ones I didn’t like as much, which got me caught up in wishing for everything to turn out okay. Yet, as expected, reality happened and there was little I could do keep myself from feeling my heart break along with Louisa. However, though the ending was heartbreaking, I didn’t get as emotional as I expected. Maybe because my emotion wasn’t driven by sympathy for Louisa but more of an understanding of what Will wanted for himself. No matter how much I speculate over this, its something which I will probably always be trying to get to the bottom of. One thing I am sure of though is that because of how I feel about the ending, there is no question of whether or not I will read the sequel. In my eyes, it isn’t really needed, and I have no desire to go near it. For me, in this case the end is the end, full-stop.

Overall I found this to be a wonderful and engaging read. It took me on a journey which kept on going beyond me having closed the book, which is something I find really special in a novel.

Eternal

He must walk this world alone;
Dark hair, dark eyes – much
Darker name we never speak.

He passes through unseen;
But still we know, as
We shiver in the warmth.

Doomed to be alone.
Stranger in the crowd,
Solitary one.

Just longing, to
Care for someone, not
To just exist.

Not long, there
He saw him, brighter
than the sun.

Wide eyed,
Or else enchanted
By him.

Life

Death

Who’s he?
And why so sad? He
Shouldn’t.

Bright green eyes,
Soft pink hair, to match,
Widest smile.

To look upon,
Such loneliness, his
Aching heart broke.

I know you now. He
Who walks in shadows.
I’ll show you the light.

So at the last moment
He reached out, to take
Cold fingers in his own.

Death’s no longer alone, Life
Embraces him now.
They stay like that. Forever.