It is the small rituals that hold our lives together — those little gestures and repeated shared practices, the trinkets we collect and endow with meaningfulness, and our uncomplicated bits of knowledge which we cherish as endearing truths – these are what contain us and calm us and prevent us from exploding our lives.
I have a fascination for how memory works. As a small child, I began a lifelong ritual of putting myself to sleep each night by remembering small details of the day. During long bus rides, I can spend hours contemplating a single memory, turning it this way and that way. Twisting. Focusing on old feelings with new perspectives; with time and attention, memories will grow like wildflowers budding with differently coloured words left unspoken in the past and yet somehow echoing far into the future. What was once an innocent pause lingering lightly and momentarily in the air can come crashing down with a silent thud.
Small Rituals is a collection of short stories based on memories and imagination, some of the stories are populated with people I never met and sometimes they are set in a time before I was born. To write this collection, I twisted memoir into fiction and a first-person story into a ‘fly on the wall narrative’ and then, like a kitten chasing her tail, I revised it all back again. But still, I sat at my keyboard surprised as new characters emerged in the writing, self-invented and imagined they came to life and settled nicely in between my memories. I’ve turned things inside out, shaken out the now stale crumbs of loves and betrayals, discovered many small thefts of dignity, mine, and others, and I have honed the edges of hard truths to a shine – all in a wild and wonderful chase to discover meaningfulness in a life lived. I don’t know how much truth I have found in this collection. True stories are difficult, and at times you need an imaginary friend to help you find the truth. Meaningfulness is different from truth; meaningfulness is downright deceptive.