Friday, 30 December 2011

Journeys and shapes

I was once asked about my need to document everything.  I had never thought about it directly.  Maybe it was a way of not forgetting.  That’s why I always make lists.  But it is more about remembering emotional states, situations.  Having proof.  In nearly 50 years of life I have experienced so much yet how much do I remember?  A tiny fraction.  That makes me sad.  I want to remember everything, to be able to access my hard drive whenever I choose.  It can be a struggle remembering a long way back, yet we might hear a piece of music or smell a scent and in an instant, it can open a door to access a long forgotten memory.  How amazing.

Everything we have done or felt shapes us.  The people we meet and how they impact on our lives.  Love and loss, pleasure and pain.  It makes us who we are and we are evolving constantly, incrementally.  As writers, who and what we are, all the baggage we have acquired or offloaded on the journey, finds a way consciously or unconsciously into our work. 

When I re-read work written years before, tiny details – a name, a turn of phrase – can once more evoke a situation, a person – and I retrieve a once forgotten memory. 
Writers are told in manuals and on courses to write from experience.  But we can’t help it.  That doesn’t mean it has to be literal but it often is.  Writing can illuminate, help us understand ourselves and the world. 

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