In Speak Memory, Vladamir Nabokov writes in Chapter Five of bestowing on a character in one of his novels “some treasured item of my past. It would [then} pine away in the artificial world where I had abruptly placed it.”

Yes, that’s true. Years ago, I wrote a short autobiography, just a summary of events and people. I included the time in grade school when Joan Mendick lost her temper with me. We were playing under the tall pines on the needle covered earth when she whacked me in the head. My glasses were knocked off so it wasn’t first grade.
She had a terrible temper and she was old enough to control it.

Now I wonder: did it happen or was it something I imagined. I think it happened, for otherwise I have no memories of her. She wasn’t a special friend. And you can see why.

But writing it now means it’s not mine any more. Who does it belong to?


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