Note on the writing process: writing and remembering
One of the exciting things I’ve been reminded of since starting this blog is the following:
In the process of writing about my past, details from my life have come to mind that I haven’t thought about in years, perhaps even since the time of the event itself. I found this true when I was writing about my last days in Vietnam. I was doing this at the request of Chaplain Max Sullivan, who wanted me to write out how his coming out to get me when I was wounded was instrumental in my becoming a Christian.
I first discovered this about the writing process when I was trying to recount my relationship with my dad in preparation for a writer’s conference three years ago. What apparently happens is that, when I’m writing about a particular event or idea, my brain begins to dredge up details long submerged. (It can also bring up memories that, for whatever reason, have been “suppressed” because they were uncomfortable. I’m aware of the danger of “reconstructing” false memories, so I try to be careful with such things.)
I began writing this week’s Journey Post yesterday morning. I had thought to focus on one thing: how I began my own search for the “historical Jesus” and the resurrection in the library. This a.m., as I sat looking over what I had written yesterday, I realized there was something missing, but I wasn’t sure what. I had listed my experience in going to various libraries while growing up. As I thought about looking through books and card catalogs at the Downtown Los Angeles Public Library, I remembered just what it was that had sent me on my first quest for an answer to discrepancies in historical accounts, something that was to prove critical in my personal search for reality in Christianity. It all started with Davy Crockett and the Alamo.