I'm three quarters through a project for if:book called Memory Makes Us and the good people over at Writers Bloc asked me to pen some thoughts on it for their blog.
The experience of Memory Makes Us is always personal.
It wasn’t that great a memory, just something that occurred to me when I thought about ‘The Body’. My mind was drawn back to the 1980s and to Coolangatta, to the laughable excuse for sunscreen we used at the time, and to our remarkable lack of concern when, inevitably, our skin would begin peeling. Now, in 2014, here I was in the atrium at Federation Square, staring up at a giant screen which suddenly displayed my words to the hundreds of people milling through the Melbourne Writers Festival site. Without my knowledge, Paddy O’Reilly had at some point in the day taken my words and dropped them into the work she was writing before a live audience. I looked up, recognised my words, then watched on in horror as Paddy highlighted the entire passage and hit delete.
Well, not the entire passage. Just one word remained: sunscreen. Paddy wrote a few more words around mine, taking it in a new direction, but I was comforted by that one word’s presence. That word right there, that one was mine, even if I was the only person who knew it.