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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stories change because memories do

(borrowed from: http://hopeistheword.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/friday-felicities-2/)

The more I write, the more I think that everything is a story, and the universe is set up the way stories are set up, but it's such a huge story we don't really see most of it. I mean, why else would life suck sometimes, if not to thicken plot and test character?

And the longer I hold this idea, the more it changes how I see my past. Several times since moving back home, I've come up against the fact that people remember things differently. Not just a little differently, but wildly differently. I remember specific images from my time living in Scotland--light through chestnut trees, dafodylls all coming up in spring, the display case at Black's, the look of the sea when we walked home from that time we couldn't find our new school and got picked up by the cops. My sister, who was there through all of those moments, doesn't remember those same things about even those shared moments. She remembers digging things out of the mud across from where the daffodylls were, or getting stung on her leg by a bee while we walked home.

Just yesterday, we were talking about how hopelessly pigeon-toed I am, and how it was worse when I was a kid, and my dad didn't remember that he used to walk behind me and kick my heels to remind me to walk straight, but I remember it very clearly.

I think it's because we're all telling our own stories as we live them. We make sense of things, and we apply that sense to what's happening to us. We synthesize the information we have, and we form a narrative for our lives. So even the shared moments are different for each of us, because my dad and my sister and I were all in different points in our lives, thinking about different things, looking at different things, and then lived those different mindsets since then.

Our fictional lives we've built for ourselves are different.

And those fictional lives inform the stories we tell--literally for them, since we all talk about this stuff all the time, and for me, literally and expanded-definitionally in the short stories and novels I write. My world view is based on the magical look of sunshine through the trees, the way the clouds looked like dragons when I was six, the time I stood ankle-deep in cool snowmelt water and swore I saw fairies. On what the Highlands look like when the sun comes through the clouds when you're at the top of a mountain. On the feeling of euphoria when you come out from a power station deep underground. On the way I thought the cabbage farm across from our home in Japan was a wicked witch's garden, and how we dug a series of tunnels out of that hill with spoons to defend against her. On the taste of cherry blossoms and black sugar, the smell of Turkish food cooking, the taste of tea with milk and sugar, and having Hungarian goulash be one of our staple meals.

The stories I tell are based on the feeling of never quite belonging because your background is different from those around you and you remember things differently. On how stories we hear aren't necessarily the way things actually happened. On how legends are born, even if we don't want to remember things that way. On making sense of experience. On growing up somewhere you weren't born. On magical moments strung together into a life that makes sense.

What are your stories?


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