“Without memories we kind of disappear”

There were some absolutely fantastic talks at yesterday’s Interesting conference (I hesitate to call it a conference really, but I can’t think of a suitable synonym), but the one that really resonated with me for all sorts of reasons was Kim Plowright’s, called “try and explain what it feels like to preserve memories and talk about dementia and death on social media, whilst still occasionally making people laugh (and how her Mum would’ve had her guts for garters if she’d realised what she was up to)”.

One thing that Kim said during the five or ten minutes she was on stage was “Without memories we kind of disappear”. As much as she was talking about how dementia robs us of so much of what we call our ‘real selves’, she was also talking about why she felt the need to record the last few years of her parents’ lives in a series of very candid photos.

I’ve always struggled a bit with my motives for doing what I’m doing right now: writing down tiny chunks of my life, and yet I’ve found myself doing it again and again for about a decade and a half. Even with the opportunity that social media gives us to ‘over share’ today, I still want something that is somehow mine, something that’s not part of a larger network and feels cohesive and has some meat to it.

I want to have a bit of control over my memories.

(Strangely as I’m writing this I’m listening to Adam Buxton interview Michael Palin about his diaries, proving there is nothing new in the world.)

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