Mar 1 2011

Game Poem 38: Memoir

Memoir is a game poem is played by a single person. You. Over the course of the game, you will be remembering and discovering the diaries of your future self.

To begin, you will need to gather a few of your own personal artifacts, like photographs of yourself with friends or family, a few objects that you might find around yourself, mundane or significant or anywhere in between, and so on. These are the things that others might pick up and immediately know that they belonged to you, or things that invoke certain feelings or memories for you, even if they have no meaning to anyone else.

You will also need to collect a few items that do not belong to you, and do not have any familiarity or bearing on your present day life. These might be photos of someone who looks similar to you, but is much older, some objects that you’ve never seen before, or that mean nothing to you, or any random thing that you might find that does not immediately resonate with you, and make you say, “this is mine.”

The game also requires that you have somewhere private to write. This may be an open text document on your computer, or a fresh notebook or pad of paper, or whatever you feel most comfortable with. You will also need a timer of some kind, that will be set for fifteen minutes.

Settle down someplace quiet, and place the items and photos that you have assembled in front of you. When you are ready, close your eyes, and envision what you would imagine your life might be like in five years – or ten, or twenty, or forty. Only take a few moments to do this. Breathe. Open your eyes.

Write a date at the top of your diary entry, a date some number of years from now. Breathe. Look at the objects set out before you. Let them tell you what has happened in the years between now and the time ahead. Now, start the timer, and write an account of your future self’s life. Write as yourself, in the first person, as if what you are writing is absolutely true, as you remember it. Write without stopping for fifteen minutes, without thinking, just get the words down.

When the timer ends, you will finish your current thought, and be done. Close the document, or put away your notebook, and let it sit for a while before going back to read it again.

You may obviously play this game as many times as you like. If you wish to collect the pages of your future memoir together in some way, be sure to save them and keep them somewhere safe. When the time comes – or when the date that you have written at the top of each entry rolls around – take them out and read them again, and think about how the person who wrote them has lived their life.