My favourite metaphor for memory comes from Cees Nooteboom, a Dutch novelist: memory is “like a dog that lies down where it pleases.” Sometimes frisky, often lazy, my dog memory definitely has a mind of its own—it can be cajoled but not coerced, and its claws have drawn blood.
The ways in which we think about memory are crucial to our understanding of ourselves, and that’s why I am introducing If Memory Serves. Here I will share short essays, poems, stories and meditations that explore the meaning of memory.
Metaphors, of course, have their limits. Memory is not a dog, as much fun as it is to think of it that way. However, one metaphor I can’t contest comes from another writer, Timothy Findley:
Memory is a form of hope.