Saturday, February 22, 2014


Your notebooks and scraps, outlines of larger forms meant to be transferred to the Sistine  domes of your expectations, have become as well something quite unintended. Scanning through these scraps in search of forgotten passwords to little used web sites, you realized you were more than making notes, you were in effect compiling a memoir.

Much of the content are outlines for lectures, an occasional squib from a book you were reading, even a paragraph or two of a project in progress, much like the notes in these blog essays, aspects of you trying to capture telling details of your ongoing battle to educate yourself.  

These scrap chronicles are ironic from the get-go.  They depict the quest for some momentary specificity as it becomes a chronicle of the entire.  Your notes have become the synecdoche for you.

These notes are told in the retrospect of the now you, reliving the past with today's wisdom, or they are related in-the-then-moment you, as you encountered life in first draft format.  

The aging process has brought you a greater taste for details, for small things, items the poet/critic T.S. Eliot was talking about when he coined the term "objective correlative," which says an object transcends itself to become a link to another thing or feeling.

At the current time,this connecting link suits you.  Small things remind you of other, related small things, expanding the possibility that a small thing will lead you to a larger association and, if all the connections are clear enough, a large insight.

Your growing sense of Reality as an enormous loom, spinning a fabric of no particular pattern or boundary lines, enhances your senses of curiosity and need to find connecting links.  Story is not an absolute cure but it is nevertheless some kind of cure, some kind of assurance that you can profit from experience up to a point, before you have to work at trying to make connections between some things and some events.  Otherwise, there is a sense of cold, foreboding loneliness, where even story seems to emphasize disconnections.

Even in your moments where the things you strive for seem out of reach for whatever reason, you seem to shift into an overdrive where loneliness and cold are only temporary obstacles.  With patience, Reality will spin out enough event to overcome these.  Reality, after all, includes you.  If you do nothing, Reality will sweep over you.  If you do something, Reality may cause that action to be overwhelmed or mistaken.  On the other hand, Reality may be too busy contemplating its own works to notice you.  Then you will have another opportunity to set forth again.

Reality can and well might marginalize you, strand you, frustrate you. In the long run, it will outlast you, bury you, forget you.  Some individuals, well known and completely anonymous, have left us with their artifacts.

Story is an artifact.

Notebooks and choice scraps of the backs of things, on which you have inscribed sentences or lists, are artifacts.

They are also memoirs.

Among the best things you can do are to make notes, to love, to listen, and to try to see the connections between things and individuals between whom there is no apparent connection.

No comments: