Here and There

Friday, October 05, 2012

Blue Nights

I'm reading Joan Didion's Blue Nights.  If you read A Year of Magical Thinking and needed something else to break your heart, try it out! 

It is very sad, of course.  But totally thought-provoking.  "When we are talking about mortality, we are talking about our children."  and also, “In theory mementos serve to bring back the moment. In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see.”

She describes a wall in her home, with framed mementos, art, a childhood poem of her daughter's, a map, random pages...I have always vacillated between wanting my walls covered in bits of things that I love or admire or remember and wanting to save NOTHING.  If you open my closet doors or bathroom medicine cabinets, you'll find the bits there, postcards, photos.. The bits.  I thought of her wall as it was described and was very attracted to the image, and then reading later about how mementos ended up making her feel, I was back in the "live it, then toss it" camp.

But when I lived in my grandma's house the bits were everywhere!  Every whim I had, every new song lyric, or image I fancied, I put it up (or simply wrote it out) on the wall.  Discovering Paul Simon's songs for the first time and being obsessed with "These are the roots of rhythm and the roots of rhythm remain".  I had to write it in sharpie on the doorjamb of the garage.  I still have that impulse!  But I restrain myself.  I also am searching for what lasts.  The memory, the memento, the bit of song, the bit of color or word on the page.  Maybe part of each of those, but mostly the feeling of surrender to experience fully.  Surrender to experience it fully.  That sensation is it.  It makes for a contented backward glance.

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