The Pinball Game of the Brain

Memories. Memories. Memories. In the pinball game of the brain some memories stick around, others disappear down dark holes. Lights flash and time filters certain details out, alters others. This week I’ve wrestled with memories. And they wrestled back.

It started innocently enough – with the idea that it was time to clean some things out of my file cabinet. It ended with me in tears, sitting on the floor with piles of papers – bones of my past – scattered around me.

Somehow, with my current digitally-based documentation systems, I’d misplaced my memories of 20+ years of meticulous filing. I’d forgotten the clearly labeled, alphabetized scraps of my life sitting in my file cabinet. A time capsule of successes and regrets.

So when I opened those drawers, the depth and breadth of what I discovered within was overwhelming. High school grades. College accolades. Emotional handwritten letters. Way too many years of tax returns. Poetry. Floppy discs. Newspaper articles. Negatives. Resumes. Flyers from shows. Paperwork from jobs. More flyers from shows. Guatemalan cash. Press kits. Drawings. Lists. Young hope. Buried heartaches. Lost dreams.

There was something unnerving about the intensity and earnestness of my detailed organization of these papers. Who was this compulsive young woman? I felt a sad tenderness for her. She tried so hard.

Overall, looking through remnants of decades of my life in just a few days has made me feel frighteningly mortal. I’ve lived so long already. What have I done with my time? The memories I unearthed were too much and not enough. What do I have left to do? I don’t know. But whatever it is, I don’t want it filed away.

old school our fest amiphoto of me of a bygone our fest by phil cheney