“And now I am rampant with memory.” These are Margaret Laurence’s words in the Canadian classic The Stone Angel. In the novel, Hagar Shipley is deeply caught up with words, words alive in remembering her eighty years lived both as a protagonist in the book and also, certainly, in a life of her own which we, her readers, have the pleasure and privilege, again and again, to read. We pull it from our shelves, sink into the deepest cushions and travel with her through twentieth century Manitoba. She is a fictional character. You are not.
Wikipedia says there are four time capsules buried in space. The two Pioneer Plaques and the two Voyager Golden Records have been attached to spacecraft for the possible benefit of spacefarers in the distant future. A fifth time capsule, the KEO satellite, will be launched in 2012, carrying individual messages from Earth’s inhabitants addressed to earthlings around the year 52,000, when KEO will return to Earth.
I have read that many time capsules today contain only artifacts of limited value to future historians. Historians suggest that items describing the daily lives of the people who created them, such as personal notes, pictures, and documents, would greatly increase the value of the time capsule to future recipients.
A time capsule. An object that tells a story then slides inside the container and lives on long after you. I challenge you to share stories from your life. Rampant with Memory? Preserve them. Think about recording one or several stories by way of ritual, celebration, sheer pleasure. And you decide the date of unveiling. It could be an object. It could be writing or a taped recording. It could be one story spreading waves past now through day, months, years ahead.
The Yahoo Time Capsule was sealed October 10, 2006. They called it the largest electronic anthropology archive. The time capsule is closed until March 2, 2020, when it will reopen it for Yahoo!’s 25th anniversary.
When I was 18 years old, I first read Margaret Laurence’s novels. I picked them up, held them in front of my eyes, and absorbed her words and images. They stayed stenciled in my mind and years later I started conducting writing classes for seniors called Rampant with Memory. I also wrote a memoir guide to accompany these classes. An archaic form of communication, in light of these other instances of preserving memories, but still a pleasant and to some people a necessary preoccupation. I’ll return to this topic in future posts–and slice off pieces of my memoir guide for you to taste. I think writing still counts.