In The Future of the Past (from which we excerpt in this issue's "Lost Thing" feature), writer Alexander Stille asks, "What does it mean to have a living relationship with the past?"
And we wonder, is it crippling to have a living relationship with the past? Or are we in a kind of denial if we don't? And how do we live with our pasts, anyway?
If memory is our means to touching the past, we articulate something about the nature of memory with almost every piece we publish in LOST; we couldn't access loss or even describe what we've lost without it. Whether it comes in the form of nostalgia, or mourning, or simple amusement (or all three), memory is as much a theme of LOST Magazine as loss itself.
And so our new, third issue is even more explicitly about memory than Issues 1 and 2. Our nonfiction feature examines the nature of the human brain and how a man functions despite (and in spite of) losing some of his memory and brain functions. Our "Lost Person" piece explains that some cultures think ancient trees represent the earth's living memory; our "Lost Place" essay takes us on the archaelogical excavation that both preserved a historical memory and branded itself into the author's own memory and affects him still; and our "Lost Thing" (from Alexander Stille's book) focuses on the loss of our collective, national memory as technology renders treasures obsolete in the U.S. National Archives.
When we lose, our memories fill the void; that's where the people and places and things of our pasts are. But Stille's question remains--what does it mean to have a living relationship with the past? As intimate as they may often be to us, the lost elements of our lives have a certain universality, and while there may be some truth to the sentiment that we can't grow without moving on from loss, it's also true that we can't live without knowing how we got where we are. We live with our pasts whether we care to or not--they're all around us, in pictures and in old houses and dust--so sit back, reflect, and remember with LOST's Issue No. 3, now online at www.lostmag.com.