The unpredictable bliss of salvaging a memory from a (sometimes) fruitless writing practice.
These sagging couches, broken with the weight of brother-wrestling, and binge-watching, stained with old chocolate and fresh dog lick. They were once pristine, even measured to fit the room, with cushions like single beds, not broken up in twos or threes, representing my hope for kids’ sleepovers, now the soft landing for teenage boys sleeping late..
These dogs, scratching on the glass door to be let in and not taking no for an answer. Can’t they see my pen is moving across these lines? Don’t they know I am trying to drop into a memory or uncover a turn of phrase that could make my day, if only they would bug off?
These drugstore notebooks, not so precious, filling up with last week’s bad ideas and false starts, the same stuff from the week before, maybe a good paragraph waiting to be rediscovered, reshaped, and repurposed.
What is the point of all these scribblings that come to nothing? Is it simply in the exercise, writing as sit-up or squat, their value in how they may have strengthened me?
Or could there be buried treasures hiding, as ordinary as beach glass, to pick up from time to time, maybe bringing back a memory of an ocean’s spray, or the time a wave knocked me over and I got up laughing and soaked, wholly forgotten until I revisited the page where I wrote it?
These things. These decisions to etch in ink for my own muscle memory, later to be remembered, something found and forgotten and found again.
Like this morning, flipping through pages, finding something written at a different desk in a different city, a memory stirred by the view from the airport shuttle bus from San Franciso to Marin. As we passed Stern Grove, a memory comes alive — just for a second, like flash paper — of being twenty-six and with a friend in a grove of redwoods. And though I can’t remember the specifics, I remember there was music playing.
. . .
Laura Nicole Diamond is the award-winning author of Shelter Us: a novel, and Dance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is working on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.