Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up, and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after. Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting.
—Virginia Woolf, Orlando
A psychiatrist friend explained to me recently that, when we remember something, we do not return to the moment itself, but to the last time we thought about it. That’s how memories can get twisted and bent out of shape over time.
Whenever we reach out for them, we disfigure them a bit more. It is a terrifying thing to know, because it means I cannot trust myself. Every evening I go to bed and I think about things that have happened, old and new, big and small. I think about them again, and again, and again, because there isn’t anything else to do. Every time I do it, they move one step further from reality.