Thursday, November 24, 2005

I remember Thanksgiving

My family has kept up a Thanksgiving tradition for some years now, inspired by Joe Brainard's I Remember, a remarkable book of memory. I Remember consists of short paragraphs and single sentences, each beginning with the words "I remember." The form of course is Brainard's invention--seemingly simple, but accommodating an amazing range of experience and feeling. If this description doesn't sound very promising, try I Remember, and you may change your mind.

Every Thanksgiving, we sit down at some point to write and read "I remembers" and make our own homely memorial to the day. If we have a friend or friends over, he or she or they write some "I remembers" too. Our friend Norman still sends his by e-mail every Thanksgiving. (Thanks, Norman!)

When we read over "I remembers" from previous years, we're always struck by the way they bring back to us the smallest details of the day. Here are the six "I remembers" that I wrote this afternoon:

I remember being "buffeted" by the wind while taking a walk with Elaine.

I remember remembering Gertrude Stein's sentence, "Roast potatoes for."

I remember Red Nose Beaujolais.

I remember Ben's guitar-playing and thinking about what an accomplished guitarist he's become.

I remember how strange the rules for Mad Gab are, and how so many phrases in the game come from current media culture.

I remember thinking how nice it is to have everyone home at the same time, making the house "family-ly."

LINK:, devoted to Joe Brainard's art and writing

LINK: I Remember (Granary Books)

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