In Away, author Amy Bloom asks a question i’ve been noodling around with for a couple of years: “What do you take and what do you leave?”

Is this a question of the positive vs. the negative? Are the memories that we choose to leave as just as powerful as those we take with us?

I’m working on a memoir and I’m surprised at the tangents my memories are sent on as I explore something that seemed so clear and so isolated. That trip to the Dairy Queen turned a metaphorical corner to the memory of an angry father who stood by the front door, grip packed, threatening to leave. Writing about the oral surgery I underwent the summer before I started ninth grade threw me into the memory of my mother’s best friend’s suicide.

My question, with a nod to Barbra Streisand, is this: Can we choose to forget what’s too painful to remember?  Should we?

What memories do you take with you, what memories do you leave? And (how) do those memories reflect upon the kinds of ways we perceive the world and the people in it?


Author: Judy Westergard

Retired English teacher, self-taught painter, inveterate reader and still lovin' my Kindle!

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