Mémoire Du Jour

Rain Chudori's Mémoire Du Jour, or Memory of the Day, is a monthly column
in The Murmur House that records small, intimate, and eternal memories in the form of philosophy,
film, music, art, literature, and love. It is something new, something old, something you.


welcome home, starling

you are safe now

A Sense of An Ending

A Sense of An Ending

"Fiction is for finding things out, and they change as the needs of sense-making change. Myth is the agent of stability, fiction - the agent of change."

––The Sense of An Ending, Frank Kermode

Every memory I have of my childhood is bound to literature. I grew up underneath the branches of my mother, an author and journalist, and my father, a curator and playwright. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, within a second, I would answer, "I want to be a writer." 

The three of us lived in a house filled with books, newspapers, magazines, journals. They were littered everywhere, so much that every room was a library that we occasionally repurposed for a bedroom, a dining room, a living room. It was claustrophobic, in the most beautiful way. 

There was a sense of importance in the books that we had collected. Most of our interactions towards each other were about these magical objects: "Have you seen my copy of Metamorphoses?", "I just finished reading House of Glass.", "Don't forget to return my copy of Dubliners."  "I've only started reading Tender Buttons." We communicated through titles, characters, themes, other worlds that extended beyond our world that was coming to an end. 

The first thing we would do every morning was select a book, sit in our respective chairs, and read. It was the only time of the day that the house witnessed some kind of peace. 

"Yet in every plot there is an escape from chronicity, and so, in some measure, a deviation from this norm of 'real-ity.' When we read a novel we are, in a way, allowing our-selves to behave as young children do when they think of all the past as 'yesterday'."

––The Sense of An Ending, Frank Kermode

They fell in love because of James Joyce. They were young, newly graduated, training to become writers. Their story was disjointed and always told separately, they added, modified, and erased details with every recount. The story is a simple one: She had seen him in his cubicle reading a copy of James Joyce's Dubliners. They married two years later. 

"One of my favorite writers just won the Nobel Prize," my father said one afternoon during lunch. He then handed me a copy of Patrick Modiano's The Search Warrant. It was a small white book with a photograph of a statue on the cover. 

"Did you hear?" My mother said that night during dinner, "The winner of the Nobel Prize is this French writer. I have never heard of him, but I'm sure your father has." Then, she handed me a copy of Patrick Modinao's The Search Warrant. It was a small white book with a photograph of a statue on the cover.

Several years after the divorce, I found a photograph covered in newspaper in the attic. Out of curiosity, I tore off the masking tape and found a wall-sized black-and-white photograph of James Joyce standing in front of a greenhouse. He looked relaxed, almost satisfied, far away from the image of a frustrated writer that I had heard so much about from my parents. The painting now hangs in my wall. 

"Myths call for absolute, fiction for conditional assent. Myths make sense in terms of a lost order of time...fiction, if successful, make sense of the here and now."

––The Sense of An Ending, Frank Kermode

Every memory I have of my childhood is bound to literature. I grew up amongst the most complex and conflicted characters, attempting to survive in a world of violence. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, within a second, I would answer, "I want to create worlds." 

The three of us lived in a house filled with books, newspapers, magazines, journals. They were littered everywhere, so much that every room was a library that we occasionally repurposed for a bedroom, a dining room, a living room. It was claustrophobic, in the most beautiful way. 

Still, I watched them sit in our empty house surrounded by all of the books that they had acquired throughout their years of marriage: "Where's my copy of Metamorphoses?", "I bought House of Glass for you.", "I'll put Dubliners in your box.", "What about Tender Buttons?" The books were to be divided into two, placed in cardboard boxes, and then delivered to each of my parents' house. They labeled, argued, negotiated, and finally gave up these magical objects that in the past, had brought them together.  

After that, we selected a book, sit on our respective chairs, and read. It was the last time that the house witnessed some kind of peace. 

The Kitchen

The Kitchen