But He Is Also

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of Armenian writer William Saroyan, © 1952:

It is necessary to remember and necessary to forget, but it is better for a writer to remember.  It is necessary for him to live purposely, which is to say to live and to remember having done so.  This is not easy to do.

First, it is not easy to live purposely– that is, consciously.

Second, it is not easy to remember, certainly not easy to remember accurately, for the unforgettable events of a man’s life are not necessarily more important than the insignificant events which do not seem to be remembered at all.

A man is his memories, but he is also the things he forgot.

I want to think about the things I may have forgotten.  I want to have a go at them because I have an idea they will help make known how I became who I am.  I cannot expect to be altogether successful in this.  I can only hope my luck will be good enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Nothing is ever entirely forgotten.  It is all there, and is stays there until a man is dead.  These things I forgot I forgot only temporarily.  I will now try to remember some of them.

My favorite poem is Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Turkish writer Nazim Hikmet.  You can read it HERE.

I wonder if there is something culturally or spiritually about the people of that area that places importance on the things a person doesn’t know about themselves, of if this is just coincidence?

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