Listen to Me
|The Autobiography of a Forgetful Woman.
How do people come to write their autobiographies? They need to remember so much to accomplish that task. They remember their childhood, with its people and experiences, their education and travels, their everyday and exceptional times. Then youth and adulthood are recognized and related for the reader.
For whom do they write? The reader for every book, even just one reader is out there somewhere. It's possible to write with that unknown individual in mind, but the ability to maintain that image must vanish at some point. There is a place in every written work where the author writes for herself and not the audience. She decides proper placement of commas, precise words and phrases, and particular attention to detail. The writer is, at that moment, both one and many things: a creator, an artist, a showman, a logistician, a master, and a servant. Perhaps a song of longing issues from her work, or words once stifled are spoken out loud. Proclaiming lust, fear, danger, and delight, the written word is a plea.Read me!
Perhaps this is why we have written language. Memory fails and remembrances fade, but written language endures. My memory, too faulty to be trusted, is not what autobiographies are made from. My husband, the great love of my life, loves to remember my words and deeds,(especially if I'm being badly behaved) from our past. The majority of this eludes me now, though I remember bits of it. I remember much what I write down, but not everything.
An autobiography, then, is an effort to matter. Becoming the storyteller or being the story itself is a desire to be seen and remembered. What better way to etch ourselves into the future than to tell our stories and hope others read and remember us. We are leaving a legacy of joy and pain, love and hope, and everyday survival. Let us remember these things and write them down, if only for ourselves.