[One year ago Camille Noe Pagán debuted with The Art of Forgetting (presentation/review), complete with its stunning book cover and fascinating storyline of forgiving/forgetting for the sake of friendship. However, as of yesterday, The Art of Forgetting is available in paperback with another lovely cover for the same intriguing tale.
Interestingly, in today’s guest post, Camille admits that she doesn’t forget and that helps to explain why she writes.]
There was a guy. I’d call him a man, but I knew him long before he became one, and I loved him then, too. But I didn’t know what to do with that love; I was afraid of it, paralyzed by how I thought it would limit me. You know this story: We moved on. We married other people.
There was an acceptance letter: Harvard School of Public Health welcomes you. A letter followed by a difficult decision: I’m going to give this writing thing a try. A real try, instead of squeezing it in between classes and roping myself down with thousands of dollars of debt, debt that would influence my future career choices, and not necessarily in good ways. You can always reapply, I told myself as I mailed off the reply: Thank you, but no.
There was a city. The city: New York, the only place I’d ever felt at home. But I was about to have my second child, and I wanted to give him and his sister more than I’d be able to if we stayed. So my husband and I packed up and moved to the Midwest, where we had space, more educational options, and at least some of our extended family nearby.
I’ve never regretted choosing my husband—not once. I have a career that even on the worst day is better than I could have ever imagined. My children adore their home, with its attic playroom and grassy yard where they kick around soccer balls and splash in their kiddie pool. And I adore it, too, even if I occasionally wonder if they’d be just as content with Brooklyn as their backyard.
Some people claim they never look over their shoulder, back at what they left behind in order to be where they are now. I am not one of them. Even now, in this blessed life I’ve forged, I still sometimes think of that guy, and graduate school, and New York.
For me, looking back is not about regret. It’s just how I think—and it is exactly why I write.
It’s no news flash that life doesn’t come with do-overs. It’s all forward motion, and it’s faster and faster with every passing year.
But writing: that comes with track changes; multiple drafts; a delete button. It is chance to live many lives, to make many choices, to explore things freely and know that in the end, even though I have created them, they are not my own. Each time I return to the blank page, I am choosing a new adventure. An adventure I can revise as many times as needed before it feels just right.
The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and self-created myths that hold us back from our true potential, and most of all, the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.
Here’s an eclectic sampling of praise since its debut:
“Pagán writes with both a subtle sense of humor and great wisdom about the power of friendship and the importance of forgiveness in her quietly compelling literary debut.” —Chicago Tribune
“Fast-paced, painful, funny, and renewing at once.” —Daily Candy
“A cathartic, thought-provoking story of unconditional friendship and the choices we make on the road to becoming who we’re meant to be.”
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagán — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight! The winner will be notified by email tomorrow.