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Wiping the Hard Drive

harddrivewipe.jpgSo, I've been thinking about memory lately. It takes work to remember things and if you don't practice remembering a thing, then it fades. For instance, I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for over four years, but I can't remember my phone number there. I can remember my pin number on my atm card because I use it all the time, but there will come a day where those four digits will be lost.

Significant people in one's life take up memory space and you have to work to remember certain details and facts about a person. I was going out with a woman for about a month and now that relationship is over and chances are I probably won't see her again. Now what happens to those memories? Probably they will fade quickly, being pushed out for more active memories - new phone numbers, new pin numbers, new addresses.

If one understands one's life as a narrative, an ongoing story, memory is a sort of editor sitting in the corner office of our mind - "You need to tighten chapter three, and drop chapter seventeen entirely, it serves no purpose in advancing the plot. Do you really need to spend so much time describing that house? It's boring! And that maid that shows up early in that one scene, lose her. Irrelevant."

But the maid, even though she's edited out of your own narrative, she continues her own story, and has probably already edited you out. Vonnegut talked about how there are really no minor characters in life. We only edit them that way. Everyone is the hero of their own story.

Consider: Everywhere you go are dozens, scores, hundreds of ongoing stories that you are passing by, stepping in and out of, making cameo appearances in. Sometimes you can get cast in a person's story for a bit role or even an frequent guest appearance. In some stories you may even be considered as part of the main cast. It's like every conversation or contact is an audition.

So, stories intermingle briefly, and then move on. Editors are standing by. Next chapter.

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