Betrayal. Infidelity. Could you forget? Or would you keep remembering?

Forgive and forget – words that are so entwined it is hard to say one without the other. Last weeks post, on betrayal and forgiving, triggered a lively debate on an Internet site for positive psychologists. Everyone agreed: forgiveness, both given and received, is best for emotional and mental health. What about the forgetting part of it though? Forgive and forget, received wisdom for centuries, is challenged by this quote:

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” Thomas S Szaz

Forgetting and remembering is a repeating theme in Honor’s Shadow. There is something that Honor is trying to forget, yet she can’t seem to stop herself remembering…. She has almost perfect recall, not for facts and figures, but for a total experience: her magic memory, as she thinks of it, invaluable in her work as a psychotherapist, but a heavy burden at other times:

“The things we remember, the things we forget: selective memory. We don’t forget what’s truly important to us; and we always remember what hurt us, however hard we try to forget.”

What Honor wants more than anything is the ability to forget. To forgive, forget and move forward. Not forget as in repress and bury. But really to forget, totally, so that small reminders and minor coincidences could not awaken old memories, with fresh pain, making her question whether she really had forgiven after all.

She definitely wasn’t stupid. But she longed for naivety, a return to innocence, because the burden of wisdom was just too much to bear.

Something had happened to her that she simply didn’t want to remember.

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