There’s a seaside bookshop in Suffolk that always has several cardboard boxes of cheap books outside. I always stop to have a nose. The other week I found a 1914 edition of three of Henrik Ibsen’s plays one of which was A Doll’s House. I’d read the play several times about twenty years ago, but I could only remember that the play touched me…not what happens in the play or how it ended. My memory of the story seemed to remain with my last copy which most likely ended up in an Oregon seaside dump along with most of my other books and childhood treasures. In my minds eye, I can see the mountain of garbage. Screaming seagulls, white against the gray sky, fighting over scraps of discarded food while deep underneath never to be seen again are my precious memories.
Have you ever noticed how objects seem to magically store our memories? Lose the object that reminds you of the memory and the memory can fade until its lost in the mists of never-happened-land. There’s something powerful about objects we imbue with a memory. I’ve always valued memorabilia. As a child of about eight or nine, I found the school memories book my mother had bought for me when I was five, and finding it empty I collected the important papers I’d kept from my previous school years and put them in my book. Over the years I continued collecting. I still have the contents of that memory book. My diaries and other important paperwork went home in a special box. My regular diary along with my early stories and drawings survived, but my Literary Diary (which I’d kept from 12-26) had no obvious value to my mother so it went into the trash. My Literary Diary was an important list of memories I’d attached to books. Now the only books I can remember reading before 27 (when I started a new diary) are the ones that really stood out. This is probably not a bad thing. If I can’t remember reading the book, then it probably wasn’t part of a significant moment in my life…or was it? I’ve no idea. I can’t remember. [Read more…]