where the writers are
Digging for Proof

A couple of weeks ago, I got a surprise call from a lawyer. There are some shenanigans at my college (not really involving me) but it turns out that someone testified that 22 years ago, I read a poem with a line that is directly related to a lawsuit going on at our school.

There is so much to be amazed at with this! A line in a poem is important in a lawsuit! That anyone remembers what went on 22 years ago! Wait, no one really does remember what went on 22 years ago. The alleged line in the poem actually was never written nor read aloud to a meeting of college faculty.

How do I know? Well, at first, all I had was the gut reaction of No flipping way! But how to actually remember? So I went down into the archives of material written before there were clear ways of storing writing online in clouds and in flash drives and dug. I dug and I dug and I dug. In a box (the old way of storing information), I found the poems I read during my early years of teaching and found no incriminating line. Not even a hint of incrimination! And I ended up sitting for about three hours reading through my life at the end of my twenties and at the start of my thirties and was alternately sad and happy and depressed and joyful.

But, bottom line, no line of poetry that would later change the course of a legal issue.

Memory is a fragile thing. I can't actually remember much. All of everything from about yesterday on seems like a dream. I know I was there but there is so much in front of me that matters more. I can feel the potatoes that I need to peel for dinner and can hear my son laughing next to me as he searches the internet, but I have no idea what I thought at 8.05 am yesterday morning as I was on the elliptical trainer at the gym. Who knows? Who cares? It's all nothing and everything, and all I can say is that you need to make a hard copy, print it out, and put it in a box for 22 years so that when needed, you can pull it out, read it, and say, "No, I never wrote that."