Monday, October 20, 2008

Lucille Clifton: Why Some People Be Mad at Me Sometimes

One of my incredibly talented sisters is writing a memoir, and since she began the project, we've been having some interesting conversations about memory. Specifically, we've been having conversations about how ridiculously often she and I second guess our memories. With six kids in our family, there are so many stories that have been told, retold, re-imagined, and mixed up over the years: Alan squirted Steph with the infamous squirt gun, no I did it, no that was Ali's boyfriend Dave.

Anna will remember a specific incident and then she'll call me and say, "Well, I don't know, maybe that didn't happen to me. Did it happen to you?" For a split second, I'll remember it vividly. Yes, that was me. And then the moment passes and I think maybe I've just heard it told so many times that it seems like it happened to me. I reply, "I have no idea."

I'm sure to some extent this happens in all families, though ours may be a bit extreme. Either way, when I came across this Lucille Clifton poem in Hip Hop Speaks to Children, the first thing I did was make a copy and pop it in the mail to my sister. I hope she keeps on remembering *her* memories, no matter what the rest of us say.

why some people be mad at me sometimes
by Lucille Clifton

they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and I keep on remembering

2 comments: said...

oh thanks so much for the nice comments, and for picking up a copy! i'm glad you like it, and so glad you spot Cinnamon in there ;)

and about this post- oh my gosh, i'm the oldest of 5 and this happens CONSTANTLY with us too! i always feel so loopy when i tell a story like it happened to me and my sister (I also have a sister Anna) will say, no that happened to me. isn't it crazy ?

Josephine Cameron said...

yes! it's crazy. and it *does* make you feel totally loopy. i'm glad to hear it's not just us, though. :)

hope cinnamon is enjoying his new life of country rock-star fame!