Scaffolding for memory


The rain has stopped. The men from next door are talking neighborly, I can hear them now I’ve just opened the window. I like the sound of tires on the still-wet pavement as a car goes by. A quiet section of the city, this last handful of blocks before the cemetery bisects the avenue, not to reemerge ’til down in Sunset. I like where the road bends, transitions seamlessly from avenue to street block— just an easy curve following the bend in the high iron fence that separates the dead from the living.

One of the reasons I write so much—keep records, organize photos by year, date every last drawing in my sketchbooks— is that I know how impressible and fallible memory is. We think things are so clear and true in our memories— but when there are records against which to hold them, they often reveal themselves to be as fluid as dreams, endlessly rewritable.

My sketchbooks are records as much as anything else. Books of days, of weeks, years. Not in a journaled sense (rarely, anyway), but in the sense they can tell me, through parallels, what was going on in my life at almost any given time.

That’s what this blog is for, too. It’s scattered, I’ve no single thesis, really— at least not on the surface of things. But through it I can reconstruct a great deal. The words, the photographs, drawings— it’s all scaffolding for memory.

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