My earliest memory is of a green and white checkerboard pattern of linoleum tiles on the kitchen floor in Minneapolis, where I lived until I was two years old. I have remembered that design so often throughout my life that I’m sure it is entirely false.
Every time we remember something, we change it. Memories are photocopies of photocopies of photocopies, all the way back to the first sighting, which we would no longer recognize if we came across it in a magazine.
This flaw of memory is especially acute for us writers, who constantly edit and rewrite, and who at heart believe that a good imagination is far more important than an accurate memory.
For the past three years, I have been writing personal essays for Black Lamb, a distinguished literary magazine published monthly in Cupertino, California. Most of my essays have been memoir pieces, recalling and recounting joys and sorrows, my triumphs and mistakes.
Sometime in the year 2013 I plan to collect a bunch of these memoir pieces and self-publish them in a limited edition, primarily for family and friends. Some of my intended audience will remember some of the same events I describe. Some may, therefore, be tempted to correct my memories for the sake of historical accuracy. To them I will say:
What you’re about to read are the personal and family memories and in some cases fanciful imaginings of a fiction writer. For those of you who were there when any of this happened, please do not feel compelled to correct my memories. I already know they’re inaccurate—just as yours are.
As for historical accuracy, who cares? Nobody’s going to take my word for all this. I just made sure of that. And who cares what the floor in the Minneapolis kitchen looked like?
Note: For quite some time now I have been posting pieces on this blog almost every week. I’m starting to find that a difficult schedule to stick to. I do enjoy writing this blog, and I enjoy connecting in this surreal way with a bunch of friends, many of whom I’ve never met in person. But starting now and until I change my mind again, I’m going to post less frequently. I think that means approximately once a month.