Write Part of My Memoir in November, Day 24: Finding A Soundtrack

Write Part of My MemoirWelcome to Day 24 of my memoir challenge. Another day, another revision decision. 

It happened again.

For the second time in less than a week, I had to consider past events in the light of present awareness and decide whether I want to revise or eliminate them.

From Medical Sensitivity to Animal Awareness

First it was endometriosis. When I realized the disease was far more dire then I originally thought, I decided to cut a section of a chapter where I mocked someone who complained about it.

Now it’s elephants.

I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, attending a travel writers convention. It would be hard to find a more idyllic setting, but one of the journalists in our group persisted in whining and complaining, driving everyone crazy. And then: instant karma on an elephant tour. As we waded in a line through a river, sitting in pachyderm-borne baskets, the elephant carrying the writer suddenly raised its trunk, turned its head, and deliberately soaked her.

It was funny.

But this happened in 1995 and, as I was writing the scene, something nagged at me. I decided to check. Sure enough, in recent years it’s become clear that the way elephants are trained to accept riders on tours like the one I described is cruel. That put a different spin on the scene.

Bob Seger Provides a Soundtrack

While I was contemplating the problem, one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singer/song writers floated into my head:

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then

— Bob Seger, “Against the Wind,”

Seger said that the line “bothered me for the longest time… It sounded grammatically funny to me.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. But I slowly came around.”

I felt the same way, but I came around quickly.

I listened to the song a few times before I realized that other lines fit too:

Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

I’m still not sure about the elephants, but after spending half the day listening to Bob Seger songs, I’ve decided my memoir now officially has a Bob Seger soundtrack, one that I think should prove useful. I may have memory lapses, but rock and roll never forgets.

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Kate Kaemerle says:

    Love that your memoir has a soundtrack.

    I also enjoyed several elephant rides while in Thailand and Nepal. Wouldn’t do it again, but it was a fascinating experience seeing the jungle from atop an elephant.

    Maybe you can leave it in but add a mea culpa in light of newer information. Just a thought.

    • Edie says:

      I agree! I did many other awful things without knowing, including going to the Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi and eating all kinds of endangered species. I will definitely write about that.

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