Rose coloured glasses are a must-have fashion accessory for me. Recently a lot of things have been pulling on my memory threads, from requests to write a bio for a magazine I used to edit, to the beginning of a short story for my writing class, to time spent with a friend’s family at her 40th.
As I get older I am struck by how much I can re-write my history to be a much more pleasant place than I felt it was when I was younger. For instance, in terms of the job, I found myself thinking oh-so-fondly of the wonderful travel I did – flying in a glass fronted chopper in Vicenza or listening to Andrea Bocelli sing in an open air palazzo – and remembering some of the friends I made and have kept in touch with in the decade since. I did not think of the lifelong insomnia I developed during that period, the weekends I spent at the desk and the family losses I experienced when there.
When it comes to the short story I played with in class, I began to laugh at what a funny, eccentric and special man my Dad was when, the story in question, really only brought me embarrassment and further proof of how he was trying to ruin my life when it took place. This even led to a whimsical reminiscence of my long lost sister and a stroll through my mind's landscape to our happier times.
And the time spent at the 40th made me think about how people’s lives change dramatically, especially the lives of busy parents who go from having houseloads of blustering adolescents and argumentative teens to having sporadic connection with these offspring as adults and watching them from afar, almost as if they are strangers. I also saw dramatic, staggering effects of age on the good old human body. Obviously I drank to stop those images becoming long term memories.
A rich man died in Melbourne today, a bloke by the name of Richard Pratt. Already on the radio they are debating whether he deserves a State funeral – he gave mountains of cash away in philanthropy but recent times saw him come under a legal shadow in his business dealings – and the memories surrounding his life, the stories from colleagues and friends, are already being edited and polished to give off the finest hue.
We all have a history. We all have our own stories but do they change as time goes on and, if they do, do they become more or less accurate? In class last night we discussed genres. Many stories, upon reflection, can be written equally as well as a romance, a drama, a mystery, a work of science fiction, a poem or graphic novel. Which genre are we living in today?