“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
― Virginia Woolf
Our memory can trick us in many ways. It is often because we’d like to forget a moment of our past, or perhaps remember it differently, in a better light than how we previously perceived it. We can also see the ugliness that memory can take on, which is how we learn from our mistakes. Virginia Woolf’s quote shows that we tend to live in the past, and not in the present. Our memory is based on reflection and growth, and we can only embrace those years of separation for a better understanding of the people we’ve become.
Walking down memory lane can make our hearts flutter, our palms sweat, and keep us up at night pondering the memories that haunt us the most. Exposing our memories through writing makes us feel naked and vulnerable, and at times, uncomfortable. However, the best literature contains writing that makes us jump out of our skin and feel the hairs on our neck stand up, because the reader, too, feels exposed and enlightened.
Our memory has a way of highlighting the best and worst while muting the mundane and ordinary. We remember the glorious victories and dismal failures, but not the moments of passivity that lie between. But each person’s standards of high, middle and low are different, and it is through reading the words of others–when they show us aspects of their own lives–that we can be exposed to their worlds. Each experience is new and exciting for the reader, even those that the writer may have felt were “normal” or “mundane.”
That is the magic of memoir–living another’s life. Not just the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the triumphs and defeats, but the mundane, the every day, the “normal” that isn’t our own. We hope the pieces you read in Issue 10 show new horizons and new experiences, allowing you to see through another’s eyes for a little while and experience the wonders of someone else’s memory.
Jessie Reyna and John Faugno