People say you're born innocent, but it's not true. You inherit all kinds of things that you can do nothing about. You inherit your identity, your history, like a birthmark that you can't wash off. ... We are born with our heads turned back, but my mother says we have to face into the future now. You have to earn your own innocence, she says. You have to grow up and become innocent.
Before I can say , I was. Heraclitus and I, prophets of flux, know that the flux is composed of parts that imitate and repeat each other. Am or was, I am cumulative, too. I am everything I ever was, whatever you and Leah may think. I am much of what my parents and especially my grandparents were -- inherited stature, coloring, brains, bones (that part unfortunate), plus transmitted prejudices, culture, scruples, likings, moralities, and moral errors that I defend as if they were personal and not familial.
Having contact sheets for all sorts of episodes in your life seemed to me intriguing and desirable. So much of my own history is beclouded by time, but a few sharp rays, in the form of pictures, falling upon a given day would resuscitate whole contexts. And from this archipelago of moments, scenes, episodes, you could see the larger tectonic movements of your life forming and unforming. You would be reminded of who you are. Or at least of who you were.