I’ve been reading Joe Brainard’s I Remember, which ranks among Frans Masereel’s The City and the Up documentaries as one of those wonderful singular things that says so much about the mystery of existence without really telling us it’s doing that. I Remember is a 167-page list of remembrances (experiences real and imagined, wisdom learned, both true and false), told with such economy and clarity that it’s impossible to mistake the contexts of Brainard’s remembering. I’ve been thinking much about the book’s form (Should Brainard be celebrated for originating the form, or for perfecting it? Would any book in this style emanate such silent joyousness and sadness, or is that particular to Brainard’s life?) in relation to its content, but mostly I’ve been compelled to try some of my own remembering. Here’s a brief sample of my life, following the Brainard template:
I remember a piece of tissue in my room that I was always meaning to throw away. I remember when I finally did.
I remember layaway.
I remember hi-speed dubbing.
I remember “turn your head and cough” and not doing it right.
I remember wetting the bed. I remember the heavy warmth of the blanket.
I remember thinking I could pee away an erection.
I remember show and tell.
I remember showing two chess pieces carved by my dad. I don’t remember what I told.
I remember a cat’s toy koala.
I remember a sky green with lightning.
I remember Paula Cole and “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone.”
I remember daydreams of creating a fanzine and leaving it at grocery stores.
I remember daydreams of taking trips to my friends’ hometowns.
I remember being really good at math (People still assume I majored in it).
I remember my second-grade teacher’s very large birthmark.
I remember winning an award and being taken out for ice cream by my second-grade teacher.
I remember Gleaming The Cube, and life’s mysteries lying in wait.
More posts very soon (numerous).