Editor’s Note

Kazuo Ishiguro famously stated that he was interested in memory because it acts as a filter through which we view our lives. He continued by observing that given memory’s indistinctness and obscurity, it contains all the elements for effective self-deception. This second point gave me considerable pause when I first read it; after all, if we shape our identity on imperfect memory, can we ever truly hope to know ourselves?

Many of the writers in this edition of Questions examine the variegated ways memory can influence and shape our lives. In ‘Laughing at Seagulls’, Yoshua Selvadurai’s protagonist nostalgically reflects on humble beginnings in rural Tasmania, and how it contrasts to metropolitan Fitzroy where men are ‘strangled by their ties’ and plants ‘struggle to breathe’.

In a similar fashion, Xiaochen Su’s ‘A “mythical” water town that only lives in the memories’ utilises memory to provide a stark reminder of the dangers of climate change and that, in our blind rush for ‘progress’, we may well be running in the opposite direction.

Both Nechama Basserabie and Emily Marcus explore different ways in which memory can shape identity and the challenges we face when our past clashes with the present – when what we have conflicts with what we desire. Finally, Saraid Taylor examines how, no matter how hard we run from memory, it always matches pace: ‘wherever you go, there you are’.

Perhaps the most salient concept to take away from this brief editorial reflection is that our identities may well be based on imperfect memory, but railing against this fact or the memories we have only mires us further into confusion. Perhaps – just perhaps – learning to accept both our past and our imperfections is the closest we will ever get to true self-awareness.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Questions as much as I enjoyed compiling it.

Samuel Zifchak