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Aeschylus posited, “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” While true, memory also can be a trickster, and cruel. And why are some of our most emotionally laden memories incomplete, a scent or color or image triggering a flood of half-remembered events accompanied by an overwhelming sense of joy or dread? In this issue we wrestle with this imperfect and changeable source of all writing. Stephen King, Kevin Barry, Cheryl Strayed, Colum McCann, and Jodi Angel offer short takes on their strongest memories evoked by a piece of clothing or jewelry. Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner, two of America’s sharpest cultural observers, talk about collective memory and the creative process of weaving the personal with the political. In “Moving On,” Diane Cook imagines a future in which our former spouses are counseled out of our memories. The incomparable Joy Williams, in her story “The Country,” asks, “Why are we here?” C. K. Williams offers a “Little Hymn to Time,” Charlie Smith asks “Why Harp on It?,” and Troy Jollimore plumbs the “Past Imperfect.” I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.
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