I took one more thing from the 2015 Personal Digital Archiving Conference and it’s so relevant to our discussions here about scrapbooking that it deserves it’s own post.
It’s all about memory.
Professor Lori Kendall delivered the final talk of the conference. I was particularly interested in what she had to say because her words last year where inspired my thesis topic. I can’t possibly do her talk justice, but I’ll summarize what is really relevant.
Kendall has spent the last year studying memory from a variety of disciplines, not just her own field of personal archiving. She found commonalities.
We think of memory as a fixed thing when it isn’t. She describes memory more as rewriting something in your head than retrieving something. We selectively remember things and forget others, often we may not be aware we are doing it. Each time we remember something we are forgetting other things.
She also found that neuroscientists and historians agree that memory is very closely tied with identity creation. Memories have more to do with creating your current identity than the past.
What does this have to do with us scrapookers, the memory keepers? We can’t remember everything. We often feel guilty or feel we have to justify the choices we make about what we choose to document and what we leave out.
Should you document your every day life, your every week, your every day? Or should you document just big events? If you choose one does it mean what you are creating isn’t a real reflection of what actually happened?
What I took from the talk is that it simply doesn’t matter. Every memory is a process of creation and destruction. We can’t remember everything and shouldn’t attempt to. Kendall notes that everything saved is something else lost.
We need to think about the story we want to tell and who we want to share it with. That should be our guide.