It’s all over the news...well, publishing news that is. The debate over the memoir. Fact or fiction? Or a little of both? Reading the discussions it appears to be pretty clear cut. You don’t make up what happened in the past. But is it really so crystal? Could it be my recollection of an event...the memory which languishers in my psyche...could it reveal itself differently than someone else perceives it? Apparently so.
How many talks with my sister about past remembrances of our childhood differ? Many. She’ll say, "I don’t remember that." Or "I don’t think that’s true." And I’ll be firm in the way it manifests itself to me. As will she. And then we move on, each still absolute in how we remember a time, a place, something funny or sad. It doesn’t change anything between us. If anything it puts a new spin on what we thought. Sometimes her version will mesh together with mine and now it’s slightly different than I had originally thought. Never, though, has either said, definitively, "it’s not true."
As individuals we can’t have the same experience and we can’t recall, whether in voice or word, our shared memories the very same way. Some appear as a collective thought as opposed to an actual minute by minute factual account. Others are vague in time and place, but brilliant in emotion. Are they to be called false? I don’t believe so...but there you have it. I look at something one way and others will have a different opinion on that question.
But let me make one thing clear. I own my recollections. They belong to me and no one else. If someone differs, than they may do so. But they are not allowed to take my views and destroy them, citing their memory doesn’t include what I have written. Don’t venture into my mind. It’s all I have.