Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Don't Re-Memoir

"You should write a book."

Damn right I should. Let me get on that.

Okay, well, what kind of book should I write? The obvious idea would be to write a memoir of my past experiences with a major focus on the past decade of decadence. Sure. There is a tiny problem with that idea: I don't remember most of it. That's a bit of an issue.

I first made this realization in treatment when my counselor had me write "my story" to present to group. I sat staring at a blank sheet of paper and was aware for the first time that my brain was just a big bowl of memory soup... pieces of flashbacks and recollections floating around incoherently in brain matter broth that just sloshes around between my ears. I'm sure I have a sleeve of saltines soaking in there as well just to make sorting it all out that much more difficult.

It makes me wonder how these people who were hardcore drunks and drug addicts managed to write out their stories into coherent tales of innocence lost, pain, self-destruction and salvation. How much of it is true and not just imagined filler to bridge the gaps in their timeline?

Memories aren't really true anyway, are they? The longer you hold onto them, the more you distort them in your head in one way or another. That's another problem for me. Many of mine have been twisted a bit to make myself look less jackass, more bad ass. I'm aware of the truth, but it's easier on the ego to leave the doctored images in my filing cabinet that the originals.

Our memories are, of course, one sided. We remember moments in time differently than other people who shared those same experiences. One night I ended up at an after hours hotel party of some roller derby ladies and friends. I had been drinking since late afternoon, so I don't really know how I ended up there, who I knew, or what all went on. I do know that I had to be helped out down stairs and into a cab. On my way down the stairs, a girl I didn't know had a horrified look on her face as she said, "I think he peed himself." I replied, confidently, "You're goddamn right I did!" And then I attempted to high-five an imaginary person as I strutted (stumbled) away in urine-soaked jeans. I imagine that girl and I remember that moment quite differently. She probably made a personal commitment to "know when to say when" and steer clear of degenerates, and I considered it a funny anecdote and not the first time I soiled myself on a Sunday.

That's a good example. I don't remember any details of that night other than her face and me slurring a comeback I thought was hilarious... and pee pants. That's it. I'm not sure just those three details make for a good "road to rock bottom" yarn.

I suppose some authors are just better at remembering the details. Despite massive consumption of booze and heroin, I still have a knack for memorizing movie quotes and being able to tell you every movie and TV show an actor has done. This trivial memory skill would be very beneficial if IMDB, Wikipedia and the whole fucking Internet did not exist. Also, I can remember bits from comedians' acts I've seen 10 or 20 years ago... which is irritating because I can't remember shit I wrote last year.

The idea of doing research on myself seems too narcissistic even for me. The idea of asking friends and family for their memories of me, both good and bad, makes me uneasy. It also seems like it would be kind of a waste of time.

"I don't know, John...I was fucked up, too, you know. You said something funny then you fell down, I think? That sounds about right."

"I don't remember when it happened but at one point you yelled at a guy for being a hippie. His hair wasn't really long, either...I think that's why he didn't get mad. He was just as confused as I was as to why you would call him that."

"I thought I told you not to call here again, you drunk-dialing asshat."

"Oh, I remember that you loved playing with G.I. Joes with your brother, and you really enjoyed singing at church when you were little. I think we still have some of your stuffed animals in the attic...Hello? Son, are you still there?"

I know this is all due to brain cells I've doused with booze and the "time travel" I did often with pain killers, but I like to think of it as my body and mind protecting me from my past... locking away all those possibly damaging memories so I can move forward with my life. Sure... why not. Either way, I won't be scribing "Here and Back Again... and Then There Once or Twice More... and Back... and Forth: The John Rabon Story" any time soon.

What will I write? Probably a lot of shit like this. I guess we'll see.