Why write? What is it about putting words on paper or disc that makes the effort worthwhile?
Defeating time is one reason. My memory, at the very least, is selective and prone to distortion. Particularly of events with a large emotional component – and these are the memories that I hang onto most tenaciously. But if I have a record, in words, of what I actually thought and did at the time (even allowing that anything that I write is going through a subjective pre-filter before it is even recorded), I can refresh and reeducate my memory to come closer to what really happened.
In this way, I confound the misapprehensions that time places on me.
This seems important. I am always conscious of the present as a stopping point betweem past and future. Writing about it gives the moment more buoyancy, even as it floats away into the past. Looking back, I can reel it in.
Of course, some events are so engrossing and so of the moment that it is impossible to record them as they happen. About 15 years ago, in an effort to reclaim some of my early life, I wrote an autobiography about those extraordinary – and still so to me after all this time – years during my early 20s. It developed into a full length book. A few close intimates have read it, but that's as far as it goes. By writing it, when my memory was fresher than it is today, I reclaimed some of the past. Not perfectly my any means, for I had only a few scraps and notes from those days to remind me of names and places. Some details hovered between invention and recollection.
Time had already stolen those moments.
Today, as I grow closer to my death than my birth, such efforts do not seem so important. What once loomed large has shrunk. I approach this change with mixed feelings. Yet I continue to write.