Memoir can and must be written because each of us has our own created version of the past. We own it, no one else does, no matter how incoherent our history is.
Always take that next step
What a life of thoughtful reflecting and resetting can do is help us feel more in tune with ourselves. We can reconcile ourselves to our family histories. We can realise not everyone or everything else around us is to blame for how our lives have gone to date. Instead, we can look within and ask ourselves what we’re going to be accountable for in our own futures. We can commit to change.
I imagine many of us are feeling unmoored, lost, adrift, at sea. 2020 was not meant to go this way. We weren’t meant to see our lives turned upside down.
Nobody knows what dystopian futures lie ahead and whether stories will be denuded of their humanity as Artificial Intelligence takes on a new role as storyteller. For now, though, we must continue telling our stories, try to pass them down generations, hopefully learn from them.
I’ve recently started Robert Macfarlane’s superb new book, Underland, where he reminds us that the verb “to discover” is to ‘reveal by excavation’, its roots meaning ‘to descend and bring to the light’. And so it is with storytelling.