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Posts Tagged ‘memory’

I prefer to read fiction over nonfiction. This has seemed strange to me. As I get older, some of my friends drift away from fiction and dive into nonfiction, but my love of fiction is stronger than ever. Why wouldn’t I prefer to read a real story? A story of a life whom I could meet in person if that person was still alive?

I think I’m starting to figure out why.

Fiction sometimes feels more real to me. The dialogue, the specificities in colors and images of what the characters see or do…some of that is hard to remember for a nonfiction story. There are images writers create in nonfiction that you don’t usually find in fiction because it’s coming from a real memory. But other than that, it doesn’t matter to me that fiction is false because the ideas behind the story are probably mostly true, depending on the story. Some things or feelings that happen to the characters in fiction stories we can either relate to or at least understand.

But it goes deeper than that. I feel like when I read nonfiction, I am getting told the story from someone else, even if it is written in first person. I already have it in my head that this story is true, therefore I give my mind space from it. It’s still a good story, but that life was already lived, is already taken.

But fiction stories are basically up for grabs. In fiction, I can insert myself into the story and allow myself to be that character.  I am the legs running through the trees; I am holding on to the back of a dragon; I am the one crying as I hold my dead, fake sister.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I am quite a lucky kid when looking at the big picture, but I have my days like everyone else. Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here, but then I don’t have the gas to go anywhere. I may not make it to New York, but I can read about a character who lives in New York. For me, reading fiction is the cheapest vacation. Emotion moves us, changes us, and I have dug through more emotions in just a few fiction books I’ve read than all of the nonfiction ones put together. I crave emotion—whether it’s anger, fear, sadness, happiness, hope—because to feel anything is to feel alive. In the low, dull moments of my life I can be soaring. I don’t necessarily like being angry or feel like my heart is breaking, but I’ll take anything over nothing at all.

That’s why I love the writing world. Writing isn’t just a world filled with words, but it’s also a world filled with emotion. The way we can use words to stir up something inside people is fascinating to me.

In life, you can’t be everything (there’s not enough time). But through a story, you can be anything. 

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Across the room from me, there are 36 pink, heart-shaped post-its pressed against the wall, though some curl at the edges like crippling flowers. These little notes are my room’s version of a photo album. For some people, pictures are some of the most important memories because they are able freeze a moment onto a sheet so they can relive it in their minds later.

Scribbled onto these post-its on the wall are quotes my roommates and I have said to each other that we’ve found humorous. This kind of memory is able to capture a personality. Whether it’s an opinion about something or someone, a whitty remark, a miscommunication or ignorance about something that makes us laugh is a way for us to remember each other and smile.

Memory can sometimes feel like a curse, but to remember things like your adventures into new places, your failures that became lessons, your loved ones whose bodies now shrink in boxes underneath marble nametags is a gift.

Memories become pillows and chocolate on the days you wish life wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Those moments in those pictures will never be lived again, or at least not in the same way; just as those moments on our post-its will never be relived except in our minds.

So when opportunities arise, take the chance to make some memories that you’ll want to remember. I’m almost 22, and already I have done and seen so much that it excites me to no end to think that this is only the beginning. Fear and worry are your enemies. They will do nothing for you, so don’t welcome them. Try new things, go to new places before you tire out and don’t have the energy to go anymore. Already I feel more tired than I felt even a year ago.

As addicting as Facebook is, it’s not going to do much for you. Of all the things you post on Pinterest, how many are you actually going to do/make/look at again? Trust me, I have these problems too. But remember how precious time is. Take your lazy day when you need it, follow the rules so you don’t get fired, but there is so much life in the trees just outside your door, and we have a tendency to use that time to sprawl on the couch and watch a second movie we’ve already seen. Even in your priorities, there’s life and excitement that you haven’t noticed. Never lose your sense of adventure, of wonder, of a love for life, for people, and for God. Let your mind be as free as that of a child.

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I was flipping through facebook pictures of a classmate we lost 2 and a half years ago and couldn’t help thinking back to the last time I had seen her before she died, her funeral.

I remember the line of people at her wake that stretched out the church doors and down the gravel road. The sobs that grew like a coming car as new people stepped in front of her casket, needing to look away, yet not wanting to. 

Fresh notes tack onto her Facebook wall every now and then when a memory is sparked in the mind of a friend. Words of fun and laughter, always ending with an “I miss you.”

I didn’t know her well, and even I am trying to hold back tears. She was so loved by everyone. And that was because she loved everyone. She was only 20, but she affected more people around her than many ever do in a lifetime.

It made me think—when I die, what message am I leaving? Who would I be remembered as? Am I pointing people in the direction of love as much as I am in the direction of God? Will I be remembered as the optimistic one who was there for others, or the pessimistic one who complained?

As this world gets worse, I want to strive to be someone who gives people hope, makes people laugh, reminds them how much I care. I want to leave a legacy. Strive in your own life to leave behind the memory of someone who cared. 

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