Reminders are all around me.
A friend’s pictures from his trip to the UK along with the lush descriptions of haunted England in the book The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield brings back tidal waves of bittersweet memories. The chill of the Northern countryside. Wandering cobblestone streets under a comforting blanket of fog. Love escaping me like those tendrils of mist. Substantial enough to be felt, but never solid enough to grasp.
A mention of baby chicks in the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender conjures a brief flash of childhood: chicks hatching in an incubator. Field trip. My mom smiles. I smile. Wonder.
Listening to Feist’s aptly title album The Reminder transports me back to a difficult year of failure, struggle and a long goodbye to my home. It also reminds me of my own resilience, my determination to do better, to be better.
A trip to the farmer’s market brings the taste of my first date with Lover Man: coconut sticky rice studded juicy, sweet mango. Vibrant. Sweetness and depth. I make a vegetable panini consisting of fresh mozzarella and just-picked zucchini and am sitting back in a cafe in Georgetown, relishing my first taste of freedom from the constraints of my everyday life.
They are everywhere, these reminders.
The most potent of them all came just yesterday. A friend from high school posted a Kickstarter campaign for her mother’s documentary Uchuraccay, a story about murder and the power of journalism, yes, but also a story about facing demons, confronting the past and creating art from pain. It reminded me that my pain and, by extension, my words, are valid. Who knows what memories we will evoke with our art. The chance to gain inner peace through the exorcism of creation. I pledged my support to Uchuraccay, as it also served as a reminder that when artists support each other, magical things happen.
TRAILER UCHURACCAY ENG from Quinoafilms on Vimeo.
I knew a man who could touch fruit with his bare hands.
I knew a man who could hold the sea on his tongue.
His shadow stretched like the fig tree’s in afternoon sunlight,
the bristles on his jaw stung like pina. His voice curled,
curled up, shrill with the rooster, though it was past daybreak and morning
had already faded onto the knees of his blue jeans. His hunger was my own.
It is late at night on the day I am supposed to post the new theme. I had played with a few themes over the last week, and decided on this one this morning. The word reminder is not good enough at describing exactly what made me think of this theme, but it will do. And I suppose it will keep options open, which is always a good thing.
I feel like there must be a German word for what I am thinking of. Something specific, with at least twenty letters in it.
The reminders I was thinking of were of the more fleeting kind. The kinds that cause a spark or twinge. Here are some examples…
- When, as you are dreaming, you realize that you have the most brilliant idea possible and concentrate on soaking up every last detail, but then when you wake up you can almost hear it spilling out of your ears as you scramble to find the pen that rolled under the bed after you knocked it off the nightstand in your sleep. You are devastated. And then, either three hours or three weeks later, someone says a word on the radio and you at least have pieces of the dream back. And okay, maybe now that you’re thinking about it while awake, it’s not as brilliant an idea.
- When the opening note of a song can make you travel through time to one very specific and probably uneventful day that you wouldn’t have had cause to remember otherwise.
- When maybe you’ve had too much to drink, or were too tired to go out but you went out anyway, and weeks later you find pictures on your phone of events you thought you had dreamt. And suddenly you remember the next thing that happened, and the next, and you either grimace or sigh.
- When you write a note to yourself and lose it, then find it later and realize that even that is not enough to make you remember why you did that. Why did I write “Smart Alec” in the middle of a page in my notebook?
- When a scent brings you back to a specific time in your life, or when it reiterates that the life you are living is reality, and not just a plan you have thought of for months.
- When you see someone write something down on a piece of paper and realize they have the same handwriting as your first boyfriend, and anyway where did that mix tape run off to?
- When I was little I was a very eager student, who always wanted to get a word in with the teacher, whether it was a question, a related story, or an answer to a question. Naturally my teachers wanted to give everyone a chance, so I would wait to be called, sometimes feigning patience. How humiliating it was to finally be called upon and completely forget what I was going to say. My mind’s eye would strain, and I could picture a window that was open, like in the school attic in The Neverending Story, with curtains blowing in the wind, suddenly shut. Suddenly quiet. Suddenly the thought was locked outside and I was fogging up the glass as I breathed. In retrospect I would pray for one of these reminders that I’m talking about.
I cannot wait to see what this theme produces. I could probably write a series of books on this. Also, if anyone either knows the right word for this (in English or otherwise), or would like to make one up, please share!