Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Childhood Bliss — In Deconstruct

Can we re-visit childhood memories & expect to discover something we might have missed when experiencing firsthand?  My memory banks are full of such details but in general, I chose to leave them where they lie, frozen & half-forgotten. I dislike people who reminisce too much & as a writer of fiction, I have sworn off my own life as material to write through.

Still. I cannot help but wonder if  I was to undertake an exercise to flesh-out details from any given memory, whether this amplification might trigger some powerful conversation. Writers of fiction require imagination to produce entirely new instance. Like petroleum being converted into jelly. the raw material is converted invisible.

She called it mousey creeping. It always occurred in the evening when she had drank a few glasses of scotch. I would lie on the sofa next to her armchair, the one with the pillow set up against the upholstery of the cushion to provide extra support for her bad back. My arm would rest on the edge of the sofa, reaching out towards her chair & she would extinguish her cigarette & take the hand that held it, slowly & gently & began to lightly run the tips of her moon-shaped fingernails just on the surface of my young skin. I remember goose bumps & waves of relief. It was the tenderest tickling, light & slow & with my eyes closed, time suspended. I never wanted it to stop.

What were my thought when my grandmother comforted me so? As the hand that carried her three rings—a wedding band, silver & plain, the diamond & sapphire ring which went to my mother when she died & will come to me eventually. . . an ornate S-shaped silver & onyx ring purchased on a holiday in Mexico—as this careful hand traveled up & down, gentle & slight, how did I view the world in those moments of bliss?

When I am fortunate to receive a pleasurable experience, after the initial wave of recognition & warmth settles down, my first thought is—how long will this last? Anxiety takes seed; it focuses on the endurance of the giver of this pleasure. I am concerned about fairness; I worry about how I will repay this kindness.

My memories of pleasure are tinged with obligation.

{Images by Caras Ionut}


  1. we are the narratives we make of ourselves. A physical manifestation of a story. What happened in our past is far less important then the story we construct around what happened.

  2. I completely agree with you, Adrienne. Actuality is stiff; it is that transformation of our lives, as it has been experienced which makes for the creative.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.