SEP 47: Separate present from memory

This is a weird one, but I want a way to reflect both when something was written and when it occurred. For example, I have a memory:

Hassan and I stole lollies from Mrs C’s supply cupboard at lunchtime while she was outside. She’d left it open and unlocked that day. She was furious. Sent us to the head. When an aid tried to bring us back to class a couple hours later she shouted at us again, eyes bulging she was still so angry. Refused to have us in class for the rest of the day, that aid had to babysit us with a couple workbooks they didn’t understand. Took me a long time to realise how I, more so than Hassan whom she sort expected it from, had betrayed her trust that day. 17 years later it still haunts me.

Now I wrote this about three months ago, but the event took place about 17 years ago when I was 9 years old. Of course the creation date should reflect that it was written just recently, that it is not the voice of 9 year old me, but I also want to be able to place it on a timeline of my life.

I suppose I could resolve it in the same way as Unix time. Only, my ‘epoch’ would be June 9th 1996, the day I was born, everything counting forwards from there.

Today (2023-04-19) is 9,810 days since my birth, so anything I write about today should have that ‘epoch’ attached, and if tomorrow I write something else about today it should have the same epoch attached (not tomorrows). At such short timescales this hardly matters, but doing it for documents that refer to events long since past would have the effect of creating two divergent but complimentary entry-points/overviews of this growing corpus.

So the created, updated, published dates remain as they are, but posts also get this new metadata element: day.

Some thought should be given to an axis for specificity. Example: for the memory I related above, I can definitely figure out what year it happened in (my final year of primary school), I can probably also narrow it down to a three month window within that, but I definitely can’t narrow it down to any given day. So how should that be reflected? Should I just slap the epoch in the middle of the possible range? Should I do that but also express a confidence interval? Expressed either abstractly as low, medium, high, or as a plus/minus range expressed in days. Or something else?

Say I wanted to record an event that I know happened after my brother turned 2 but before I turned 1, that gives me a six month window (we’re 18 months apart), so I could set the epoch squarely in the middle of that and then express a +/-3 month confidence. This would then have to be reflected in the timeline somehow.

In a way this relates to something I just wrote about linking forwards, I’m trying to develop a more bidirectional relationship with chronology. In this context it might warrant the creation of a new document type, perhaps called memories. Or perhaps just a class of the journal type, that seems to make more sense. I’m still not confident I have nailed down the ‘final’ hierarchy of types/classes. May need to delve into some librarianship literature for that.