Creating Memories through Lying

Jogging Memory through Photograph… Or do I even actually have the capability of remembering this moment?

I found the last portion of Perec’s W, or the Memory of Childhood the most difficult to imagine, and thus do justice to with one of my own photographs. However, upon further thought, I began to really think about memory and the power that we have as individual to create them for ourselves, and essentially fool ourselves into believing the imaginary event actually took place. When I was a child, I frequently found myself in my parents’ bad graces when I would lie about what I had been doing. I don’t know why I did it (I was always afraid to break rules, so I wouldn’t have gotten in trouble for anything), but I would still invent stories. So now, I have found that many times I am forced to question certain memories I have, asking myself whether they really took place or not, similar to Perec.

Also like me, Matalon creates memories, however she provides concrete proof that the memory “took place” through photographs. Had I seen a photograph of myself on ice skates in a sparkly uniform, perhaps now, 14 years later, I would believe my own childhood lie that I had taken ice skating lessons and was going to start competing. We can use a photograph of a deceased person to remind ourselves that they actually existed, just like we can use a photograph to validate (or is it convince) ourselves that a moment actually occurred. So the question is (and perhaps I’m jumping the gun on the overarching lesson in the course), does photography actually increase or decrease the value of memories?

The photograph I posted above is of my mother, my brother, and myself in 1992. My mother is a flight attendant and would work on the weekend when my dad was home to stay with us. I don’t remember being upset when she would leave, but I remember having fun with my dad and my brother, and being so excited for her to come home on Sunday, like in this picture. Is this true? Was I really unmoved by her leaving? Did I talk about her, or miss her? Did I ever ask her why she left us every weekend? There is a gap in my knowledge, but the only thing I remember is being excited to see her, like in this picture. Did this picture create one of my earliest memories?


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