Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finally, It's Snowing

Snow for me signals relief from so many onerous social obligations. It limits travel and bodily exercise, and forces containment, here by the fire still getting ready for work. It reminds me too, of cozy moments in my sailboat, which had been and represented embodied fulfilment of my life's every ambition. (It's all been downhill since).

So my living this novel is nothing if not a rehearsal of the fiction that we are ever the authors of our own lives. And it surely is a convoluted and paradoxical fiction, because it seems so very real - though perhaps less so as the memory dims. I find that I recall best and perhaps only the things I've written about, and these days am plainly embarrassed to discover that the story I recently told, thinking it new, was the selfsame one I'd already written about in my youth. Has so little happened since? (hint: "yes!")

I do remember vividly reading stories to my daughters, somewhat wishing for that moment when they would learn to read, but also vividly disturbed to observe what fell away when they did begin to pronounce the labels. The richness of their imagined and gradually memorized tales fell away to be replaced by a fixed and permanent story, whose very sameness had once been an ambition to be achieved, perhaps because it felt like the recovery of that very first awakening wonder. Now it would be entombed, though no less powerful for what feelings the return could awaken.

But I do remember that something did fall away, along with mastery of the written word. And I do know now that much of what feels like strangely fated occurrence is much more likely something which once made sense to me and whose sense I've since forgotten. It may very well, in other words be me myself who set up the terms for my surprise when I later discovered it consciously, or as the simple memory of something neatly forgotten - where here "memory" becomes newly defined as enactment. Which is perhaps what it always ever is.

So, I have nothing very much to write other than this thought about what writing is - an enactment, into memory, of something previously thought but not yet revealed into conscious awareness. I have so much more space to rattle around in now, in my house(boat). I have read so many more books - though never even nearly enough.

The books I read are chosen carefully at random. I try to remove the taint of system, but still carefully read the jacket for a hint that they will be engaging. The place I live misses only the rocking of the boat, but for that is at about the same remove from normal social commerce.

Winter descends.

I delude myself (and in that am distinguished from no-one). There is plenty of system in all of this. But little enough ambition. As with the symbolic language of mathematics in that History of Infinity I recently read, I do shy away from formal system or program. I remain relieved of discipline. I traverse the written record of humanity, I think, as though I were frantically trying to find my way back to the surface while drowning (and watch my life pass before me, rehearsed and unrehearsed, but so very real). Sometimes there are clues as to which way is up. Sometimes I forget to breath.

Well, I did have something I wanted to say, but I have clearly lost track of what it was meant to be. So here, gentle reader, is another chapter from my ill-spent youth, intact and undecayed.

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