Chapter 4, “The Past” It’s Still Happening.
“We love the present tense. Be here now. Yesterday is gone and best forgotten: our tradition is to have no tradition. We aren’t Europeans buried in ancient tombs and cathedrals and medieval ruins. We were born yesterday and we will be young forever. Over thirty is over the bridge. Age embarrasses us; remembrance is a function of senility. We exile the aged to Sun City leper colonies so they won’t impair our illusion of endless summer.
But history is not so easily dismissed. Repressed memories, national or personal won’t stay down. To be alive is to have a past. Our only choice is whether we will repress or re-create the past. Childhood may be distant, but it is never quite lost; as full-grown men and women we carry tiny laughing and whimpering children around inside us. We either repress the past and continue to fight its wars with new personnel or we invite it into awareness so that we may see how it has shaped the present.
The moment you begin to tell your stories you may find that memory is a trickster who picks and chooses scenes. What happened to you in the past has yet to be determined. Ninety-nine times you tell the story of the way you were whipped for stealing apples you didn’t steal. Then in the hundredth telling, you remember that you did steal them and the whole scene changes. Your memories of what happened to you in 1953 will be different in 1975, and again in the year 2000.”
Tell the story beginning with the words, “This is how I see what happened…”
Prompt: Write the story from the other person’s perspective.
No matter whether you use these prompts or not . . . Just Write!