Saturday, April 25, 2009

memory as a virtual vuseum

ah, that's not quite right. in the usual museum the objects remain in their cages and the notes below them do not change.

memory is a pile of rubble and from it we reconstruct the past according to how we feel at the moment. our past never stays the same. one day we pick out the postives, the love we shared, the events in which we triumphed. alas, the next day, being in a bluer mood, we remember (and regret) the mistakes. we tally up the positives and negatives, and find we have greviously erred at the latter.

the same event, the same love affair, the same trip across europe changes it's shape and meaning as we stumble through today. for example, recently a friend told me a visit with a possible lover rendered her catatonic, that she could merely mumble and couldn't be touched. recently, aroused to defend herself, she described the same experience as ecstatic, that she was dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

you see, our history never remains the same. one day we feel pride in it and all our strength. but as i've said, should a blue mood overtake us, we construct the past as a disaster.

in reality, we're full of floating images, some actually from dreams, others from distortions. true, long ago on a greek island, a friend, david hamilton, said that when he dropped acid he could relive a memory in all its detail and complexity. perhaps (unless we have brain damage) everything we've lived remains within us. i have, to my detriment, a very clear remembrance of what people had said to me, expecially friends. forty years later i'll quote them, to their astonishment. perhaps this talent will desert me. before thirty, i could recall my childhood in amazing detail. that has slipped away. perhaps with acid...

even if we base our identity upon it, we cannot take the past for granted. hopefully, all of you have kept a diary and taken lots of pictures. this, at least, might be a corrective for the creative present, the moods that redefine us everyday and drive us crazy.

here are some strange bedfellows. as as they are bought and sold, they re-group and gain new meanings. if only we could enjoy the fact we are not one person but many.