My mother sends me photographs that I scan into a screen to preserve. We pulled them out of boxes that were stained and damp. We washed them in the bath tub, scrapping the mold and dirt from the edges, filling the eaten white dots with ink and magic markers.
Alone in the screen, I watch each frame download and pass from my hands into it. I send them, each image in scattered waves into it. My name resonates. I imagine them, creating waves, ripples that ebb – this constant, ceaseless streaming.
This is who I was. I show him and he recognizes me, barely, and only in name.
I spend hours negotiating questions of memory and movement.
The strange realization that the memory of myself never includes myself, that the perspective of memory can only look out, constructing the world surrounding my body, the void of myself remembered and defined through external experiences.
I cannot see myself from within my mind’s eye. There are only the photographs.
I remember the world around me. That picture of myself and my stuffed squirrel, the color of the wallpaper and counter top, the scratched walls and cheap tile, the hard and thick carpet, the couches covered in sheets to hide too many juice stains and accidents, places where the dogs pulled and ate the interior stuffing, the television that flickered in the background.
I remember the world around me, its reaction to me, the sensation of it acting upon my senses.
Memory is then a receptor recording/documenting external “touch” to construct and project the illusion of myself in the present moment.
I live in memory, the memory that builds my world as it simultaneously establishes meaning and purpose – my place within that world.
The corner that I hid within, that space beneath the counter, beneath the table where I curled myself under a checkered blanket with my stuffed squirrel and waited to be discovered and removed to bed.
Art can be defined as any creative process expressed and extended out beyond the physical limits of self and body – the manifestation of memory in external elements through the medium of history, storytelling, and imagination.
My father was the architect. His cigarette ashes filled half empty pepsi cans he left, scattered in packs. His desk was lit by a single lamp that cast an uneasy shadow of his head and hands across the concrete floor. He carved in lines, pencil and pen, with rulers and charts. His letters were in perfect angles, perfectly straight, connecting with invisible edges. I wrote about this, once, watching him sketch a piece of land that rose out of the earth to disrupt and scatter the skyline. He built the walls and the floor; he carved the kitchen out of stone and granite, carved it into the earth as though it was meant to be there.
Considering the power of memory, questions of self and identity, the natural hunger for expression and remembrance.
I live in memory, extended frames of reference across time and space. This was me then; this is still me, now, hiding beneath another man’s drawing board, wrapped in blankets, listening to the sound of his hands and the dreams they inspire.
The words that build me, imagining how they will be interpreted a hundred years from now.
I imagine that he is the man I wrote, the man the world will remember him as.
Forgive me for changing you to preserve my fiction.