Writing it over
There is a special connection inside us that is activated every time we decide that our thoughts must be written down.
Why do I need to write?
To answer this, I should dig in my early offline writing days.
Yeah. I remember.
Time traveling back to the days when I first started writing my own experiences.
The first time was in story mode. I was six or seven years old and I had lost a pet -a cat. That was my first encounter with death, losing, missing. It felt devastating. A few months later, I realised I was also losing details of what were once vivid, beautiful memories and I could not bear it. I simply could not bear the thought of losing those stories as well.
I wrote to make sure I would remember. I wrote the main adventures shared with my pet from day one to the last one. He lived only eight or nine months. I did not have any photos of him. I wanted to embrace the experience by writing, to protect it from the passing of time or my own growth with its inevitable change in perspective. I wanted to save an emotional snapshot of myself being six years old.
It is a long story why, but I destroyed the manuscript a few months later. That is probably the single act in my life I truly regret.
I still write in that private way sometimes. A diary of sorts. Sometimes it is just a collection of prompt sentences, not a detailed story. Just enough to trigger the memory I want to cherish.
Facundo Manes, an Argentine neurologist who frequently publishes articles on how memory works, says that everytime we go back to a memory, we change it. Something in the brain is kind of coded again on the original episode so that the next time we remember, what we actually do is to go back to that last time we remembered and slightly edited our past.
So I understand this process is repeated until the original moment is gradually gone far back into ourselves. We lose their reality by remembering. But if we write about it, don't we stop the distortion of our past? If you re-read your own posts from a few years back, can't you reach back to yourself?
When I write here in my blog, I usually start by some ideas that spring while reading others. Something that touches a nerve of mine. Something on the surface trivial, but I simply know it is worth exploring in writing. For example, a few minutes ago I had to stop reading a blog post because the triggered thoughts of the previous one were flashing in my mind making it impossible to concentrate on the new post. So I decided to write to let it out or else it would not let me go on reading.
I can recognise that special sensor that identifies a unique moment to take a selfie of your thoughts. A recording of a precise way of expressing an idea that may drown into the daily routine and never surface like that again. So you jot it down before breakfast if it must be so.
I need to record the process -as I best remember- of the thoughts I am having, which are, of course, gushing out faster than I can touchtype. They may be gone quickly! Sadly, saving these thoughts is to no avail: science says I just keep making new memories by writing over old ones.
Snapshots of assorted focal points of me while reading. That's what has kept me on this blog for a decade now.
I think I am far from seeing it end.