The Hobby Has Morphed
Memory keeping began as an appreciation for the photo album and scrapbooks my mom created. I loved the family album and individual scrapbooks she made for my brothers, my sisters, and me. So, when I turned eight and received my first camera, memory keeping became a personal practice of placing my own photos and writing in a journal. And, all through high school, college, and my early twenties I kept these journals, using regular tape that yellowed and papers that fell apart. (Erik, on the other hand, preferred to keep one book and paste our photos into it with rubber cement.) "Archival safe" wasn't a consideration. And most of the time, I'd rip the pages from my journals, unwilling to commit to the story order I'd established and irritated by how the journal binding enforced that order. So, old pages became loose leaf additions to new journals or they became the forgotten contents of storage boxes.
In my thirties, Jackie introduced me to archival safe products and albums with photo pockets that made it easy to switch up story order. In addition, digital photography and photo/layout software captured my attention. As a result, I fell in love with graphic design and the flexibility keep memories in both digital and analog (e.g., paper) form.
And yet, though the technology has changed, memory keeping's importance hasn't.
A Matterful Thing
This hobby continues to be one of the matterful things in my life. Photos and words, whether they're mine or a friend's, have this amazing and wonderful effect on me. They connect me to—or boost my sense of connection to—my experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Better still, when I recognize the commonality of (or that others share) these experiences, feelings, and thoughts, I recognize the inextricable connection between us.
This, I think, is the major reason why memory keeping matters so much to me and why I see it as meaningful work.