Hilton Als on Memory, Misremembered (2013)

“The wall surrounding memory misremembered is clean and wide and high, similar in effect to the wall one finds in certain airports in other countries, clean and wide and high like that, banking in or letting go those who want to remember clearly or don’t. Passengers coming or going in the field of memory are a tangle of arms and legs, hands, hearts, hair, and minds that – if you do not stand too close or listen too carefully – speak a shared language, remarkable in its oppressive loneliness, its denial: What a horrible memory, and so forth. Regardless of where many of us believe we land – in that field encumbered by not too much baggage or entirely too much – we all come from the same place, which is a road rutted by experience so banal, nearly remarkable, that memory tricks us into remembrance of it again and again, as if experience alone were not enough. What are we to do with such a life, one in which we are not left alone to events – love, shopping, and so forth – but to the holocaust of feeling that memory,
misremembered or not, imposes on us?”