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  • Michelle

Parsing Memory

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

Happy news day... My experimental short story ‘Parsing Memory’ has been published in Lune Journal 06: Dreamfactory.

This special edition is all about 'cinema memory', and features some wonderful writing from authors all around the world. It's also part of Cinema Memory and the Digital Archive (CMDA), a three-year research project at Lancaster University.

The cinema has played a huge role in my life...

When I was very small, my grandad managed The Curzon – a two-screen local movie theatre in Trafford. My memories of that time are hazy, but I do recall the art deco architecture, the red velvet seats (possibly from way back when the cinema was built in 1936), and the joy of ice cream intermissions! Oh, and the time my grandad let me sneak into the projection room to see the mechanics behind the magic.

Later in my life came trips to the local video rental store. Then a few years working at the local Blockbuster (which replaced the little independent store down the road) while I studied for a degree in European Cinema and made terrible home movies.

For a long time I wanted to be a film director, but I ended up behind a pencil instead of a camera, penning stories and scripts for short films, animations, games...

Anyway, I didn't think about the Curzon for a long time. It was a very distant, happy memory from an even more blurry childhood. That is until I moved to Urmston and stumbled across the nearly-hundred-year-old building one day when I was out exploring my new neighbourhood. In that moment, the feeling of being six-years old and looking up at that great art deco monolith came flooding back, along with the remembered waft of popcorn and the ghostly echoes of cinema-goers gone by.

It's a dance academy now... or rather, it was. Now it's five years' older, empty and about to be turned into flats.

Parsing Memory is my attempt to capture the mixed feelings that stirs in me. Half-remembered moments mixed with forgotten days and complete fabrication! Perhaps you could call it autofiction... some truth, a lot of lies. Kinda like the movies!

I'm glad I got to write this story. It was a welcome opportunity to think about my late grandad, while also reflecting on the crossover of fiction, cinema and digital storytelling that makes up my creative practice. What came out was something very personal, so I'm extra pleased it was chosen for inclusion.

Hope you enjoy it!

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