Sunday, October 5, 2014

Memory Kit

Gran's mushrooms cooking in butter
Mom's scent
The feel of a cheek on my cheek that lingers after a hug goodbye

My mind has been on this idea that Andy Warhol had about his cabinet of scents. He'd wear a scent for three months, then force himself to stop wearing it and would put it away in a special cabinet so when he smelled it again, he would remember things that happened in that three month period of time.

A little body warm and curled to mine
The view of Seattle coming over I-5 in the breaking light
Hunter waiving goodbye, basketball tucked under his arm

Three months. I can't imagine even being able to pinpoint things in such a short period of time. Another thing I've been pondering is this idea of memory, particularly sensorial memory and how it fades over time and what could be done to keep it. Smells, skinfeels, tastes, visual snapshots. Like the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" but collapsed into a life museum where you could sit and visit. It would be a blessing and a curse, something that would keep you so mired in the past, like an addict almost. This may be why memory fades, because our heart and mind cannot bear the rawness of the feelings that we experience in those moments. Or, perhaps, constant access to those moments would tend to erode the impact of the feeling of these experiences when they come upon us suddenly. On one end, it's a soft blanket. On the other, it's a meth addiction. You could have your own little kit of memories, a set up that would put you under, just for a minute.

The smell of scotch and water
The feel of Ava's warm, newly born body on my chest
Dew-kissed sunrise over rust-colored earth

And then there's the difference between the memory as it was and the memory as you remember it. Which would you want, if there was a difference? Would you include shitty memories like the vomity smell of saline that they used to clear your port or the smell of incense that made you nauseous at your brother's funeral? 

I think you would have to lock these away too, happen upon them from time to time like the disgusting buttered popcorn jelly bellies that sneak into your handful of yumminess. Then the kit becomes real, a record that reminds you that life is not meant to be lived in perfection, that you survive and make it through. Triggers, these are all triggers and for some it would be a nightmare while others it would help them heal and thrive. 

What memories would I put in my kit if I only had 25 spaces to fill? 10? 5? What experiences would I carry with me? What is essential to what has made me? What is worth remembering and what is worth letting go?

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