I bought this blue notebook when I decided to start writing my autobiography. I went to the bookstore, carefully studied all the blank notebooks, and selected this one because it opened flat, had thin lines, and looked studious. I was eleven.
For a while, I wrote in my notebook with a brand-new blue ink pen. Then I started editing my writing–crossing out words, adding descriptions, rearranging phrases…. My neat lines of careful cursive deteriorated into wild revisions, circled paragraphs, notations to see a different page with an addition, and pages and pages of scribbling. My heavy editing completely took over my original drafts.
After a while, I realized that I hadn’t lived long enough to have enough material or perspective to write an autobiography. I was overwhelmed by both the scarcity of material, and the time it would take to preserve what little I knew on paper.
I never finished that autobiography. Sometime during my teenage years, I became terribly embarrassed by my scribblings. I decided that there wasn’t anything in that notebook that was worth keeping, that everything I had recorded I would remember for the rest of my life.
It wasn’t true, of course. “I thought I would remember,” but I don’t. When I threw away that notebook, I lost a written record of my childhood self. Much of what I write now is, in a way, an attempt to remember the details of those days.
“I thought I would remember” is part of a series titled “Lost Along the Way.”
4″ x 4″ acrylic and ink on canvas
This concludes my painting series, “Lost Along the Way.” I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it has evoked for you some meaningful recollections of your own irreplaceable belongings. For this series, I mostly chose objects from my childhood, because I think children have the capacity to treasure and mourn with a purity that too is slowly lost over time.
Ostensibly about loss, this series is really about cherishing, for we only mourn what was precious to us. We lose our irreplaceable belongings in many ways. Sometimes they break, sometimes they’re misplaced. Sometimes they vanish, sometimes they’re thrown away. Sometimes we give them away, sometimes death takes them from us. Most often though, we simply forget.
This was an exercise in remembering, because when we hold in remembrance what was precious to us, our hearts crack open just a little more, allowing the territory of our affections to expand. By remembering, we regain in part what was most important about what was lost along the way.
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