For a class assignment, we were asked to read and respond to a section of Bret Lott’s “Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian.” In the section, Lott speaks about a collection of stories he had previously written about his now-adult children back when they had still been children.
Although his sons are now fully grown with careers and lives of their own, Lott tells the audience that no matter what, whenever he opens that collection of stories, his sons are still “only boys” of “seven and nine.”
Lott wrote those stories and essentially froze the memory of his two sons at that time in the pages. It’s almost like when Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. I have experienced this same phenomena many times. When I re-read anything my younger self wrote, the memories of that time are brought to the forefront of my mind. What was going on at school, who my closest friends were, the circumstances in which I wrote the piece.
When I return to the same books I read as a child, I not only remember myself back in those days, but I experience it as well. I remember my trusty flashlight that I would use to read those books under the covers well past my bedtime. I remember hiding the light every time a family member walked down the hall. I remember the sense of panic when I didn’t think I would be able to hide the book or the flashlight in time. I remember the absolute relief when whoever was making the floorboards creak down the hall would walk right past my room.
These memories are frozen in pages of words and writing, and I hope I will never be rid of them.