What is the place of memories in our lives? Would we be better off forgetting things that keep reminding us how painful and unforgiving life (and people) can be? Or would we lose our mind, devoid of happy moments to fall back on, when we are faced with loss and failure?
Whatever it is, memories are special; not only in life, but in fiction as well. After all, they are the connecting link between readers and writers. When writers sit down to write, they inevitably draw inspiration from their memories – of people, places, experiences, or even depths of their imagination. When readers sit down to read, they interpret the tales spun by authors, guided by their own memories of other people, places, experiences, or hidden corners of their imagination. However, this is not a conscious exercise, either for authors or readers. As we write (or read), stray pieces of memory flutter their wings and cautiously place themselves on our shoulders when we are not watching. If we feel the need, we pick them up and weave them in the narratives we are busy designing in our minds. If not, we just let them be, for another, more appropriate moment, where they would fit in smoothly like pieces in a puzzle.
The beautiful thing about memories is that they are always in motion. They never stop. Not even for a moment. Even after they have moved from the writer to the tale to the reader, they do not come to a halt. They float around in empty space, intersecting other memories in their flow, forming an unbreakable bond between the past, present and future, reminding us of the continuity of all human experience. The task that fiction takes upon itself is to make sure they stay in motion. It is the carrier that takes these memories from one person to another, from one continent to another, from one generation to another, and becomes their witness in the process, recording them so they do not go astray among myriad others like them. It keeps them alive as they move, and saves them from isolation, so that even when they (their physical counterparts, to be precise) have been long forgotten, they are never beyond the point of redemption.
Perhaps the best part of the relationship between the two, however, is that it is a symbiotic one. Both fiction and memories help each other survive despite all odds. They help each other grow, and expand to realms left undiscovered or ignored by ‘reality’. Both of them are just a touch away from reality as it is generally perceived, and intend to stay that way. Come to think of it, why wouldn’t they? They are as real as reality can be, at times even better, as we can come out of them (just as they can come out of us) when we feel we cannot bear them anymore. We can use them to escape the drudgery of everyday realities just as they use us, and easily go back when we feel bored or lost. This is perhaps, one of their biggest appeals, and also one of the major points of contact between them.
Caught somewhere between routes and escape routes, the real and the unreal – memories and fiction are a match made in (a writer’s/reader’s) Heaven. Since fiction is full of memories and memories are full of fiction, together, they sum up everything that Life is made of.
This month’s issue is an assortment of different memories and different narratives, all tied together by love of writing and a passion to share it.