I fought with this question for about five minutes. Vivid memory of a good thing, or hazy?
I’d prefer the hazy ones. I associate haziness with a distance, a fadedness. I don’t know if people use proper photo albums nowadays – I guess some do – but photos tends to fade and show wear after long enough.
A little tale: the other day I was at an art gallery. I looked at a portrait and thought, “That woman’s got a sort of immortality.” The painting was several hundred years old. No-one alive today would remember her. She’s frozen in time, for her descendants to remember or not remember, as time passes. And yet the painting was the kind that would’ve been commissioned for the purpose of a legacy, so to speak.
Maybe she had children, or maybe her family line ended three generations later. Maybe she’s eighteen, maybe she’s thirty.
That portrait remains in wonderful condition, cared for in the way people and galleries care for the works in their care. And I wondered, who remembered her when she died? Was it two or three generations of descendants? Eventually her memory would’ve faded over the years and died out.
So you see, this is why I prefer hazy memories. I find that I have to work a little harder to recall something. My long-term memory isn’t great. If memories come too easily to me, then I fear that I would take them for granted, and as logic follows, appreciate them less. Besides which, when something truly memorable happens, I document it in photos and words. I caption photos and deliberately do not pile them on my Facebook page, preferring to tuck them under plastic protectors in an album.
In this way I get to keep memories for myself, adding to the invisible diary I have going. I like to think Oscar Wilde knew what he was talking about.