Silence=Death; Shady Memories

Last year I blogged about marking my 20th birthday (07/25/78) in Colonial Williamsburg However the circumstantial photographic evidence says otherwise. While not always as organized as I could be, photography is one area of focus (sorry- not sorry- for that attempted humour). I have photographs from September and early October 1978 labeled as films #108 and #109. The four rolls of slide film I shot in Williamsburg that year (numbered 110-114) were developed in October. As I was working at the Film Counter of a drug store, I can’t believe I would’ve let those rolls sit unprocessed for months, or numbered out of shooting order.

I was still living in Chatham when Theatre Kent produced “The Fantasticks” in April ’78. So I did not move back to Toronto until at least June, and started the Film Counter position until late June or July- and I don’t believe I would’ve gone to the store owner after only a few weeks to say I was leaving town. immediately, for a week. Even doing so after 3 months seems brazen now.

Being off by a few months is hardly earth-shattering; outside of sworn testimony as a witness in a capital crime trial, I guess. But I have no recollection of the actual reason(s) I felt compelled to risk my first job in the city, and faulty memories aren’t helping. I can only surmise my tying the event to my birthday (so strongly that 20 years later I revisited Colonial Williamsburg specifically for my 40th birthday) was part of repressing a scarier reason. Although I had been exploring my sexual freedom, this was before I contracted a case of mono (partially hidden by a case of strep throat), before the onslaught/recognition of hiv/aids, and before any failed romantic relationships. It is a mystery.

It means I can’t just put repressed memories into a neat box marked before age 6 and be done with it.

And it links to what I consider my most personal, deepest, least understood, poem. I wrote Somewhere Sunday, March 1, 1981 sitting in a comfy armchair in Toronto. My recollection (subject to all the limitations expressed and implied in this blog) is that I finished it in one sitting. That often happened with my poetic prose, but was exceedingly rare for any piece with more structure. This piece has both a rhyming pattern and very specific word use.

Last month I wrote that this post would “update my faulty memories in Memories Without Emotion from a year ago, as well as present two dreams(?) that will not leave me.” The first part is now done; the rest of it will follow… sometime.

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