Monday, January 22, 2007

Taking Back the Past

Memories can be funny sometimes. As a child, did you ever have a favorite toy or a favorite game that you later lost or your parents got rid of for some reason, and yet somehow that toy persisted in your memory for years and years? For me, it was the Which Witch game by Milton Bradley. They put it out in 1970, when I was four years old--just old enough to remember how much I liked it and how much fun I used to have playing it.

I don't usually go into deeply personal stuff on this blog, and I'm not going to now except to say that I've recently been learning how important it is to deal with unresolved issues from the past. For me, the Which Witch game represented something that was taken from me without my consent. I'm not trying for a laugh when I say that my grandparents burned the Which Witch game in a fit of religious fervor--simply because it had a theme that involved "witches". They acted according to their convictions and I can't really fault them for that, but thirty-plus years after the fact, I decided that I hadn't given permission for that game to be taken from me and, dang it, I wanted it back. So I bought one on eBay. It arrived today and I played it with my kids. They love it, and it meant a lot to me to be able to share it with them.

Does it live up to my memory of it? Yes...and no. Yes, it's played just the way I remember and it's as much fun as I remember. But it's also a lot smaller in size than I thought it would be. For some reason, it was much bigger in my head. My teenager tells me that it probably seems that way because when I played it, I, too, was much smaller. She's probably right. Once I got used to that little slice of reality, it was fine. I'm glad I reclaimed that part of my childhood.

Brenna, my main character in Beyond the Pale, has a past that comes back to bite her in the butt. She needs to deal with it, take it out, examine it in the light of day and decide how it's going to affect her in the future. Memory can be an incredibly powerful thing, depending on what you decide to do with it. You have to decide whether you'll have power over it or whether it will have power over you. And you have to be willing for it to be either better or worse than the picture in your head.

Here's some food for thought: If you find your memory-turned-reality drastically altered, did the reality change...or did you change?

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