Losing the Focus

Finally read the writing book “Writing Down the Bones” and one of her ideas is to write about memory, to just start sentences with “I remember . . . ” and every time you get stuck, start another line with “I remember . . . ” and plow through.

I’ve often wondered what makes our brain choose what goes into retrievable long-term memory, what gets tucked in back to play hide and seek, and what goes away without leaving a trace. I’m having a slight case of longing for the good old days, which I know full well weren’t nearly as good as right now.

Best Beloved was upstairs recording a podcast so I went out in the garage and sat in the back seat of my Juke to record this so I wouldn’t disturb her. You may want to note that the back seat of a tiny car is no place to play guitar, even a tenor.

Lyrics

I remember my dad turning dirt with a shovel
to put in a garden out back
I remember the grass as the yard tumbled down to the lake
I remember the fish on Saturday night
catch and eat and repeat
and the sound of winter geese flying south as I lay awake

I remember the waves kept knocking me down
and I never had the nerve to surf
I remember the peace of the bay on the other side
I remember bonfires at night
and roasting whatever we had on a stick
falling asleep on the deck on the incoming tide

I didn’t know then what would stick
what my mind would keep
the pictures I’d take
what went deep
I remember the smallest things from then
What will I remember from now?
I want to choose the memories
but I don’t know how

I remember the house on the beach was so cold
it was warmer when I went outside
I remember I didn’t go home when that tiny trailer sold
I remember the red motorcycle and a tiny grey car
and the cork tile roof of my bug
and my friend Ross and all the goofy jokes he told

I didn’t know then what would stick
what my mind would keep
the pictures I’d take
what went deep
I remember the smallest things from then
What will I remember from now?
I want to choose the memories
but I don’t know how

the apple tree, an old grey barn
piece of glass stuck in my foot
afraid because the bike was too big even though I was 8
the piano and the car we left behind
the stars in the mountains
and always wanting something and always being told I had to wait

I didn’t know then what would stick
what my mind would keep
the pictures I’d take
what went deep
I remember the smallest things from then
What will I remember from now?
I want to choose the memories
but I don’t know how


What do you think?

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