On Discovering Lost Memories

A Million Ways Poetry Memory

The photo above is of my Wife Esther and I in November of 2001. It was our 3rd wedding anniversary and I had written the poem below for her to mark the occasion.

A while ago I was in an intense work mode running tests on some new functionality we built for a website. I was head down, with eyebrows intensely clinched working. In the background I was running Plex randomly playing songs from my music library when suddenly I heard what sounded like spoken word with ambient music in the background. Normally that might not have caught my attention as I have some of that in my library but the audio was clearly shoddy in quality so I paid closer attention and then soon realized that was my voice reading one of my poems. I immediately lost my train of thought and came to a screeching halt on what I was working on.

The gears in my mind turned for a while trying to recollect this piece of lost digital audio. I had completely forgotten I created this. I decided I had to investigate further and my first step was to find where this file was located. I found the mp3 file in an appropriately named folder called “loose”. I looked for any other tracks I may have created in the folder but couldn’t find any. I then began to think back about when I may have recorded this. I then remembered a period long ago when I thought about creating audio files of all my poetry. I think I loaded up an audio editing program, recorded my voice (poorly as you will hear from the file) and then mixed in a short ambient looped audio track to add some atmosphere. I also remembered the crappy microphone I bought for this initial experiment. I searched for more files but couldn’t find any. So my best guess is that I recorded this one track and decided to scrap the idea. Here’s the audio:

My Poem: A Million Ways to Say It

I then remembered a friend of mine that I enlisted in this experiment at the time as well. He was learning about midi and playing with new synthesizers and other gear and was looking to try something different. I vaguely remember asking him to pick one of my poems and surprise me with what he could create. He chose one of my darker poems and recorded the modified audio himself along with his own musical arrangement. Here’s the audio

My Poem: The Lost Ones

In the end I think that if I spent more time on improving the production quality, I may re-visit and record a few more. This also makes me think about how many other old digital artifacts are sitting on my hard drive. All with the power to elicit memories and emotions that are strong and meaningful. I plan on going on a digital scavenger hunt at some point and find the files hidden away in the deep recesses of my folder structure. Just waiting to be rediscovered and fill the gaps in my memory both good and bad.

A Blog Prompt / Challenge for You

Are you personal data hoarder? Do you have old dusty folders on your hard drive filled with memories from your past? I challenge you to go find a file and write a story about it. If you do tag it #digitalmemory and / or share it in the comments below.

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