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§ 2 ~ Prelude

 My story therefore will be at once a very personal one and it will be a history of my sort and my time. An autobiography is the story of the contacts of a mind and a world. The story will begin in perplexity and go on to a troubled and unsystematic awakening...
So this autobiography plans itself as the crystallization of a system of creative realizations in one particular mind—with various incidental, good, interesting or curious personal things that happened by the way. ~ H. G. Wells

 I enjoy reading biographies, however short (such as those in a dictionary) or long, if that person is particularly relevant to my interests. I've not read too many. Mark Twain's, recently published after the century-long embargo, I found confusing - possibly due to its compilation method - despite his remarkable life. 

H. G. Wells is of special interest and a favourite author. His many science fiction novels far exceed their off-putting shallow cinematic translations, as most books do. School readings imbued a fondness for Wells' writing via Mr Polly and Kipps. I've read them many times since and enjoyed them even more.  He even makes romances interesting (to a male) as I found with Anne Veronica. 

Wells' Experiment in Autobiography has finally reached my Kindle and his style and clarity have activated me. It shows how the material of one's life, swirling around in formless memories with images of photographs that anchor them, might unfold in print. He relates his everyday happenings to the world at large - to society, and even to ideas of civilisation itself. 

I was struck by the details he recalls from childhood and early youth, and it makes me wonder if my memory is up to the task of producing more than a mere skeletal outline of those days from so long ago. As mentioned, I'm a decade older than Wells when he began. Memory must be fading, if not failing, so this will be a test of what has survived decades of unretrieved storage. I've always assumed the details will be there when I need them, and now the day impends I'm not so sure. 

Will the act of autobiography force the retrieval of happenings that I might never have tried to recall? What can I recover from my first five years? Is there anything still there other than those regular highlights - a dozen or so - that flash in the mind when awareness reviews that blurred and foggy period?

Forced by the act of writing to lay it out step by step will be the test. How much can I find? Are those oft-visited highlights the sum total of my early life? My sense of self is rooted in them. Was, is, the entirety of my first five years based on a half-dozen images and otherwise only on an extrapolation, on the assumption, that I lived that childhood? If there's no actual memory, can it be said that I existed? 

We shall see.

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