Further to a previous post about the Creative NonFiction Collective’s annual conference in Banff, the regina mom offers the following notes from Myrna Kostash’s opening words to the session, “Ownership: Stories and Lies,” with Kate Braid and Tyler Trafford.
Myrna began the session talking about nonfiction and memory. “What is a memory?” she asked. There’s been a lot of work done around memory and she suggested that each time you think about a memory, the memory changes. “How many iterations of it are there?” she asked. She compared memory to a computer file that is opened, changed and saved back onto the computer hard-drive, making a case for false memories.
This fits entirely with what trm has been thinking as she works on her Wolverine Creek essay. Each of her visits to St. Peter’s Abbey, where she fell in love with the creek and began the essay, have morphed into one big long hodgepodge of memory. She has become entirely reliant on other sources, including the memories of others which, she now understands, can be as unreliable as her own! So, she’s looking forward to The Art of Memory with Seán Virgo taking place at St. Peter’s College this summer.
Kostash went on to speak about the “anxiety” that society has about nonfiction. That’s a whole new think for trm! This essay helped her get her head around it and was a useful read when trying to understand something else Kostash said, almost in passing. “Every journalist knows that what he [sic] does is morally indefensible.” It’s a disputed quote, but it got trm thinking about another essay she’s trying to write, one about the Saskatchewan women’s movement 1985 to the present. She has much to say, much to work though, but it feels too much like venting, too much of what a good essay should not be. But now that she thinks about it it might be the route through to completing that first draft!
So that was the first ten minutes of the session. More to come!