Memory’s horribly unreliable. We fabricate, fudge, or patch bits of memory together to make ourselves the heroes of the story, or simply to fill in gaps. We remember a story someone told us as if it were the memory itself. We embellish, especially on memories we tell other people repeatedly.

Often we’re not even aware we’re inventing. I’ve been assured that this memory probably didn’t happen, but I remember it, so it’s something like true. Based on a true story, at least.

Sometimes I think that the many new ways in which things you’ve said and done are recorded and retrievable takes a little of the fun out of life. (Though it can help settle one of those ‘No you didn’t/Yes I did’ arguments.) Do you have any favorite memories that some inconvenient record (a video, picture, diary, etc) made you realize were partly or completely wrong?

*    *    *    *    *    *

Childhood Math

Start with two girls

giggling

unsupervised for a few moments

Add a handful of dog biscuits

(the colors of a traffic light

and a dusty dirt road)

waved under a canine nose

and shoved into a back pocket

Add one energetic dog

tail wagging

eager to play tag

Divide by a tree

that leaned as it grew

to make a perfect angle

for sneakers and clawed paws

to scramble up

The solution is either

biscuits tossed down from a safe perch

caught in canine jaws

or a slobbered on back pocket

and a scolding

(depending on which is faster

four feet–or two)

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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