Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Book Log, or the Necessity of Selective Memory

It was one of the few things I never kept track of,
which is strange,
as I am prone to do those things,
track, obsess, log, journal, those kinds of things.

But he suggested a book log,
in the back of my journal,
journals that have been stacking up since
I was eight and had a crush on Michael Jackson.

and I thought it was a great idea.
My elusive and trickster memory
could be pinned down, tied to the stone of time
dripping snake venom and all.
No more standing in the long aisles of Strand,
wondering aloud,
like a crazy person,
if I had read the book in hand.

No more finding out from my husband,
whose memory is better than mine,
(sometimes even for the parts he wasn’t around for yet)
that I had, in fact, read the book
the first time we lived in New York
and didn’t like it.

No more thinking there was something wrong with me,
or emotionally
since I was unable to remember what I did
or read or saw or thought
or cried over or laughed with just a few years ago.

So I have the list,
and yesterday, as I noticed my journal
was winding down, that there were only a handful of pages
left since I started it last October,
that my book list didn’t look so long.
And only added up to 50 books
and now I am disappointed. 50 books? It felt like more.
Much more. And that includes the ones I gave up on.
And there it was, another thing to be disappointed in
like the rejections and the long hot summer ahead
and the bad writing mornings
and the Sunday night arguments,
and the silent phone
and the job insecurity
and the empty belly
and the cheap scotch and
this list is going to get longer
and longer,
longer even than the book log.

And now I’m starting to think,
there may be reasons, a sort of natural selection of the brain,
for my selective memory.

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