Thoughts on memory loss
I think my favorite author is/was Anne Mccaffrey. I don't say that lightly, I love quite a few authors and collect books obsessively. But I noticed that there is something about her writing that resonates with me and always has. Her heroines always seem to be flawed. Bitchy if you will, stubborn, hard headed, cynical, not particularly interested in being delicate and sweet flowers. I feel such a kinship with these women. They are inevitably successful through intense hard work and quick wits, though often serendipity has a nice play to make the story flow a little better. It's ironic because I've always considered myself a lover of fantasy, not sci fi, and yet inevitably it's the sci fi writers and their stories that capture my attention the most.
The story that hit me the most was the Crystal Singer trilogy. I'm rereading it now and I realize that there is so much I connect to with the main character. Her intense pride, her use of it as a cloak to shelter from social awkwardness, or things she just doesn't particularly like. Her stubbornness, her irritable temper and her intense value of privacy. And above all else.. her desire to forget.
One of the problems with the Crystal Singers is that time, and the symbiotic creature that creates them, wipes the memories of the Singers. They drill rules and regulations and can be found walking about muttering important things to themselves to avoid forgetting. When the main character puts in a journal entry about her life, she hits the most painful moments.. and simply chooses not to even speak on it. In that moment she doesn't fight against the inevitable memory loss, she embraces it, accepts it and in some ways shunts the memories off to be discarded even more rapidly than would naturally occur.
I think about selective memory a lot, because of my own memory issues, and realized that I have gleefully embraced the knowledge that the most painful things will be gone from my thoughts if I surrender to the problem. There are things I have no memory of and I am not sure I ever wish to recall when I am told about it from third parties. While some of that is a blessing, as I hit the end of the third book and the lessons about memory, history, and how every experience we have is part of what makes us truly unique individuals, I wonder about my choice in embracing memory loss.
I can never fully recover and have a functioning memory the way that the heroine of the book has, there is no magical moment of a stormfront of sound that somehow descrambles my brain. So in some ways, maybe it's a blessing that I am happy the way I am. But sometimes I wonder who I would be if I could remember everything.