– James describes our memories as being constructed from our attempts to start to tell a story about ourselves. What memories play an important role in your story?
I’d have a very difficult time telling a single story about myself. I’ve lived in several different places among discrete communities that know very little to nothing of each other. They each have stories for me, and their respective accounts are largely incommensurable. I’d say this make me feel fragmented; but I suspect Alison would have me say something different, i.e. that this is just what it is like to be human. There never was an “I” to get fractured into various selves (drewman, Dru, Dede, Nur id-Diin, Idriss, etc); rather, the true “I” is what is being called into being out of this chaotic swirl of incoherent narrative.
– What truth do those memories convey about you?
The truth conveyed by my memories (of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennesse, Bolivia, France, Morocco, etc) is the story told by the others who were beholding me at those times and places.
– James says that we are “revisionist historians” and that that’s a good thing. What did he mean by that?
Communist revisionist historians were looking to achieve a desired future, and so they concocted a past they believed could help propel them there. This is dishonest. If we look backward and our retrospection allows for us to see what was unseen when it happened, then we too are rewriting the past—but it’s not dishonest, because we are revealing something to which we were formerly oblivious.
– How does the account you give about yourself today differ from the one you gave 5, 10 or 20 years ago?
Today, my story about myself is: “I’m a great big ball of confusion” (c.f. answer to the first question answered in this post). This is different from stories I’ve told myself in the past, but–as I said above–these were only the stories others were telling about me anyway. So maybe the “great big ball of confusion” story is only what I’ve picked up for those around me now. If that is so, then the account I give about myself today differs from the one I gave 20 years ago only in that I no longer trust one bit that it is actually my own account of myself.