Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Stuff of Memory

Hi gang! Nope, I'm not dead (yet). Been off the grid for a while, getting health issues sorted and whatnot. I'm working on some longer pieces but I don't know when I'll have something new to publish.

However, I am in the process of updating The Once and Future Poet. Why? Because the cover sucked, frankly. So I'm making a new cover for it, which means I'm redoing all the ebooks. And as long as I'm redoing the ebooks, I figured I'd make another pass through for typos and the like. (I'll post once I have the new versions available.)

As I was doing that, I saw in the essay on my poem "The Wild Stallion" that I'd mentioned a book called If Wishes Were Horses. This is a sadly common title, as I discovered a few weeks ago when I (rather randomly) went looking for it on Amazon.

I read that book in the fourth grade, and at one point we had to make a picture for a book we had read (I don't recall if it was supposed to be cover art or whether that's just how I did mine), and I had chosen that book. And I kept that picture because it had the author's name on it. Perhaps even in fourth grade, I knew my memory sucked. Well, is off, maybe, because I remembered that I still had it when I did that fruitless Amazon search. I even knew where it was. I was just too lazy to go dig it out.

But today I decided it was important to me to include the author's name in that essay. And so I delved into the Memory Box.

When I was a kid, I used to make memory boxes for all sorts of things. I had memory boxes from theater and summer camp, for example. But the big one, the overarching one, was a red cube box from Prange's.


Eventually all other memory boxes were broken up (except the one for The Husband), and anything worth keeping was consolidated into the Prange's box. A leaflet from when we went to see President Obama when he was on his first campaign is in there, and probably one or two other things from after I graduated high school. But mostly, stuff from childhood.

It was interesting to delve into the box. It's been a really long time. (I add things to the box more often than I actually look at anything in it.) Even this time, I didn't go through everything, just enough to find the picture I was looking for.


There is a lot of stuff there. The big orange pumpkin in the back is the picture I was actually looking for. (The author's name is Keith Robertson.) To get to it, I had to go through all the awards ribbons and medals I'd pretty much ever received (mostly solo & ensemble competitions and forensics), old bank account passbooks, a library card and student ID, a note from my sister saying she was out at our clubhouse, the 3D glasses I got when we went to see Freddy's Dead: the Final Nightmare, jelly bracelets and my charm necklace (very big in the 80s, you know what audience Pandora is targeting with their expensive charms), a Girl Scout figurine, a "book" of horse drawings I made, My Little Pony memorabilia, a Book It button, smushed pennies from our class trip to New York (including a World Trade Center one which is now somewhat disturbing), a pamphlet from the Wisconsin DOT for their "Zero Drinkage 4 Pre-19" campaign (hilarious), and, quite serendipitously, the original copy of "The Wild Stallion."





And lo, something I had forgotten, which (rightly) never made it into the Black Book of Poetry: the poem ended differently at one point. It's hard to make out, but you can see a couple lines at the bottom that were erased. I believe it says "The wind is the lock, and he is the key." Which does not add to the poem at all. Good call, younger me.

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