Archive for August, 2013


What do we remember? Why do we remember it? And how real is what we remember?

These are just some of the questions that come up when I start trying to “remember” my childhood. My earliest memories are nothing more than snapshots or maybe short videos. The experience of an observer rather than participant.

Then we moved to Cuba. These memories were like those of high school or college. I couldn’t tell you what happened every single day but they form an integral part of my current consciousness.

Even so, I am chagrined to realize I can’t think of one ‘friend’ from Cuba. I remember Maria who conspired with me to make my favorite cubed steak, black beans and rice when my parents were out. I remember our dog escaping the house and running down the two blocks to my school. I can still hear her jangling tags in the hallway and feel myself cringe in embarrassment as she bound into the room (the doors were left open to allow for cross ventilation) and down the aisle to plop herself proudly at my feet. I remember when Castro reached Havana. I remember visiting the Hershey cocoa farm. I remember some of my likes (horses) and dislikes (practicing piano). I remember being me.

From Cuba on my memories become richer, more complex, more complete. I remember people, places, events,

There is, however, another ‘memory’ from my early life. When I was in my 30’s, my father dragged out old home movies. I watched as jerky images with no sound or color chronicled my life from infancy onward. We were just about through our stay in Guatemala (ages three through five) when there I was smiling happily into the camera holding a doll. I was sitting on the deck of the freighter that we were taking to move back to the U.S. I laughed as my mother remembered that the Guatemalan jacket I was wearing was a match for ones she and my father both had which I later ‘stole’. Suddenly I was overcome with the darkest, deepest despair I have ever experienced. A voice in my head said “That girl is so-o unhappy.” It took me a minute or two to come back to what was happening around me. I had no idea what to make of what had happened, but the sense of great sadness persisted.

Was this a memory? I honestly don’t ‘remember’ being on the boat. I don’t even remember Guatemala. But I feel this was a true recollection of something that I did experience. And I still grieve for that smiling child who was me yet oddly not me.

Why Don’t I Write?


Not WritingFor the last few days, weeks, months even, I have been struggling with the question of why I’m not writing.

I don’t have writer’s block. The truth is I have short stories, a novel, a couple of memoir pieces, some essays and even an idea for a play yammering at me to be written. So there are no blank pages staring at me waiting for inspiration.

And I find the act of writing enjoyable and, dare I say it, even easy. Easy the way a natural athlete runs or hits balls or swims. When I put pen to paper (or more precisely fingers to keyboard), words flow. They aren’t perfect but they get the job done. And I enjoy the process of revision and retooling.

I used to think it was fear of criticism. But I take classes and workshop those few pieces I have actually gotten past the cerebral stage. Even if my ego cringes a bit at the feedback, I find hearing how I can improve inspiring rather than discouraging.

So the questions remains: Why don’t I write? I may never know. But I do know what I can do about it.

I can write.

I can write posts, stories, exercises whatever it takes until whatever part of me that is playing the spoiler gives up and goes home.

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After all one good thing about being your own worst enemy is that at least you know your adversary’s best moves.