Radio Quarantine: Motorama — Dialogues (2016)

And while yesterday I was still with them, today MOTORAMA is still with me. On Wednesday I would not let them go, and on Thursday, they will not let me go. It’s something tickling at me and I’m not sure what it is but it sounds like this. It’s not even so much a memory, but a memory of having had a memory. A memory of remembering an ache? Is that what it is? Does that make sense? I remember that once I remembered hurting, but… The words will come, or not. Or worse, they will come in a dream that I won’t remember when I wake up, long enough to write them down and then they’ll be lost again.

Memory is a slippery bastard, regardless of age. Mine has never been on-demand and it’s rarely linear. What I remember is, or seems, very vivid when it works properly. The problem is that often in it’s not in the context of the time it happened and then things get confused. This memory phenomenon, or quirk if you will, made writing a memoir very difficult and that’s why my memoir, even at 75,000 words, remains a patchwork quilt still unassembled. Some asked me yesterday why I had never gotten it finished, and there is no easy answer to that. The easy answer is that it’s too immense a task to accomplish on my own. It’s overwhelming. There’s too much.

That may sound like an excuse but it’s true. I’m not beating on myself. I just don’t think I have the skill. I had started the project, in earnest as I’d taken stabs at it before, during one of these NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) periods in November. It’s an online challenge to complete a novel, with daily prompts to write a certain amount each day. Someone I was involved with asked me to participate and with the one caveat that mine would be a memoir and not a novel, I jumped in, initially just to impress her with my willingness to be a part of this thing with her. The words flowed more freely than I might have imagined and two days before the end of November I had completed this stack of disjointed “memories.” With no real explanation here and now, as I’ve written endlessly about the fallibility of memory, I’ll say that it was all “to the best of my recollection.” I was pleased with parts of it.

What happened though… or “whut hat happint wuz” as they say in Brooklyn, is that finishing seemed quite enough. I’d been through a four to five year spell of hardcore analysis, 12 steps meetings and introspection. I had dissected myself. I had turned myself inside out and hung myself out on the line to view. There were very few answers left to any of the questions I’d ever had about myself. Most of what I’ve dealt with since has been new questions about new circumstances in my life since. The stuff before?

The stuff before? All I can really say about it is that it satisfied whatever urges I’d ever had to look so closely at myself. I was bored. I was sick to death of myself. I was satisfied. So… it would take some new revelation to revive my interest in myself. It could happen. There are probably remaining blind spots and heaven only knows what could be hiding in them. I’m open. It would just take an awful lot.

The subject of memoir-writing came up again last week when I was having coffee with my friend Brian. I told him about my NaNoWriMo project and he got all excited. His first remark was so direct though that it startled me. It was the one thing that held me back for years.

“I’ve always wanted to do that, but. but everyone is still alive.”

That struck home. It’s a two-headed snake. The first head says, and this is a generational thing, that you never drag your family shit out onto the street. You keep that inside. It’s what you do. Only trashy people hand dirty laundry for everyone to see. The other head says quite simply that people are going to get their feelings hurt and while you may love some of them and want to protect them, or hate others and not really care, what you will have to do is face everyone that you mention, AND, that’s going to suck. This is still going to be a concern if I ever do decide to circle back on my own memoir. It was hard enough just committing it to print, because I had to confront myself and my role in all of it. I had to have some unpleasant conversations with myself and face some less than nice truths. I wasn’t dragging anything out on the street though and what I did get out was the most honest stuff I’ve ever written. Some of it was really well crafted also. But it was enough for me to know that I was capable of “well-crafted.”

Insert applause track here.

Some of my restlessness lately could simply be that I’m remembering that I had this memory but can’t recall what, etc. Get the picture? Maybe that’s the longing that Motorama is extracting I’m not sure yet. I know this though. I need something proactive and productive. It’s not merely distraction that’s going to get me going right now.


Just some random and not so random thoughts. Stay tuned, if for nothing else, than for the music.

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