All posts tagged: Issue 27 Essay

Thirty-Seven Theses on Time and Memory

By SVEN BIRKERTS

Drawing of author when young, by his grandfather

Grandfather’s drawing of author when young

1.

Memory, that elusive quicksilver running through our lives. How at first, at birth, there is nothing, really, almost nothing, and how slowly it develops after that, all the years when there is no visible shadow on the ground behind us. And how it is that, for those years, we accept our lives as the steady panorama of whatever is right in front of us, moment to moment.

I’m trying to think when any memory worth remarking arrived. Did I have memories when I was ten years old? I know that in sixth grade, when we were all leaving behind Walnut Lake, our red-brick school, there was some inkling. Not a procession of memories, not yet, but rather an inchoate nostalgia, a definite sense of something being lost. There came an awareness of the past, and with it the realization that there is a kind of timeline, a sense of futurity that had not really been there before.

Thirty-Seven Theses on Time and Memory
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I Am, I Said

By DAVID MEISCHEN

The evening of September 30, 1993, I walked into an Austin coffee shop adjacent to the university, sat down with two women who were teaching colleagues, and launched into a discussion of ninth-grade curriculum in the magnet program where we taught. I was in high spirits that evening. Euphoria is the word that comes to mind, a physical state with me—my hands in nonstop motion, words spilling over the table like rapids. At a juncture in the conversation, I happened to glance about—just as a young man at the nearest table flicked his eyes in my direction. “Oops,” I thought, “I’m overdoing it. Need to rein myself in.” But then I glanced again.

I Am, I Said
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