BE: When writing through events spanning such a long period of time, how are you able to find specific symbols and images within your past that illuminate seemingly separate narratives? Are they just salient memories, or is there an intentional search that goes on?
PS: I believe that when you are able to keep memories alive somewhere in the back of your brain, those memories will stay strong. If you let a memory fade, it’ll slip away and be gone. With the plastic cactus it was natural. That was the enduring symbol of my first uromastyx, the object we chose to mark his grave. Throughout the years, after I told my son about it, he would ask to go and visit the grave, the cactus. And in those actions, I relived the memory and kept it fresh. When it came time for my son to get his own uromastyx, he asked for a cactus, he was drawing on his own memories of visiting the grave. So the direction of my piece felt natural, like the memories were laid in front of me, and all I had to do was arrange them.