I do wish I knew how to tell a good story. I don't. I fail in its elements.
My own life's story seems interesting, apparently, sometimes to some people, but then I'm not much better at living it than I am at spinning a good yarn. Imagine a protagonist dogged by hard luck and no resolution beyond simple finality. There would be no moral to it, and no reason to turn the dull pages.
And what if the bulk of the actual narrative as trued to the normative history outside it consisted of the man turning pages in books? Or staring at screens?
In ways that show up in the life as lived, and beyond the simple aging which we still honor sometimes? Would that change him? I have a very hard time remember the books I've read, what they were and when I read them. I always have, but still it may or may not relate to age.
I have a hard time with history too, though at least that's out there to be reconstructed, improved with age sometimes as scholars sift through the predations of previous generations of motivated researchers privileging their local slant. Our time finally is without agendas other than for truth. And utter science-mediated technological annihilation. Ommmmmmm.
Yet I do live on. I know that my consciousness excludes most of the facts of my life, perhaps especially to myself. I know this first-hand from various near death or after death or return from death experiences (depending on ones point of view), but I also know it from glancing reads of neurological studies. I know it sometimes from the way that others seem to see me.
Death is a catalytic happening. At once it collapses all the things you might have been and puts an end to all that you were. (drowning once I really was present in the replete presentation of all that I had lived until then, it's true!) To the extent that there remains consciousness, it becomes summative, and present to the you that might yet be gone are seemingly all the memories; the facts about what had happened to the you which until that moment was still conjectural.
I know from travel into the geography of my own past, including collections I've made of things of words of petty accomplishments that my memories reside outside of myself, or at least of that self on which I can assert conscious control. Meaning that I can't remember these things until I quite literally find them, seemingly attached in my mind as triggered by the artifact, but as much therefore in the artifact as in my mind.
All that I can do is to direct not my attention which seems to have insufficient power, but my actual physical meanderings, even if and when these involve motions of my eyes only. I seem able to decide which way to turn, but as often in remembering of myself as in forgetting and moving on to something new.
There is a toward and from in love with oneself, and yet the pages, sorry, of my life do keep turning or have so far. The book randomly composed, although - more apologies - it does become me.
These memories must recompose themselves each time I sleep for there are also inward motions confirmed by direct readings of the brain, I hear. These are only as-if motions, what is now termed virtual. And don't we all worry about the self that we might have been or become once the tracings themselves require the as-if-alive energizing of some circuits. I mean electricity is all. In constant motion, or the facts stay dormant. Reassuring just to be there. Eventually waxy bloated and no different from a carved statue, cinnabar infused. Worship the baby, Jesus it's Easter and I forgot!
Who keeps albums of pictures anymore, themselves virtual enough from about the time of our civil war when war was first brought home to roost. The cost of their taking is so reduced that we compile indecipherable troves and neglect, perhaps forever, to organize them into albums. Indexed only by dates and more recently places if you use a phone which enables GPS meta-data. Isn't it all meta, really?
But the meaning captured therein or thereupon is buried in the noise of just too many un-culled images and so I don't really take pictures anymore.
I suppose I once did start memorializing them on Facebook, as I did my reads on Goodeads (which now returns to the jungle of Amazon, and perhaps darekest oblivion of another sort). And yet my attenuated-by-migration bookshelves by their actual presence provide more solace. Though as often as I scour them for that book I thought I'd remarked as valuable I find a gap and it troubles me the way that memory loss must. (I did find a book on memory - No, I mean the book is about memory - which was listed on Amazon for almost the price of this laptop, which I've been fretting about paying for. Hmmmmmmm. I don't always know how to balance those values.)
As money is evermore the scorecard, my worth, on balance, is depleting. I have nothing to show for myself, although I could now cash in some of that life-insurance which was required by children now grown. I hate to rob the grave that way though; the discount for actual life so severe!
When I said valuable, there above, I meant as books to me for reading. I was shocked to find a gap filled by a book worth actual money. Those collectibles I've had over the years seem always to disappear when they're worth money. Or I give them away in squander. Neglect. I forget about them.
There is no geography of virtual space yet, Neil Stephenson. There are file-names and computer names and archival excursions which would require more intrepid resolve than mounting Everest or travelling again to the South Pole. The landscape along the way would be as bleak.
But this is boring now.
What choice is there, really, about which way I might turn, which path I might take? And when I do make those choices now there is that much uncertainly to accomplish whatever objective I set for myself as there might be going backwards.
I cannot recover myself any longer, for I have been and the being was never so bright!
For me the turning forward proves the moral equivalent of turning back. Once again, my love, I would plant a tree though it be the end of the world because how would one know? Were planting a tree worthwhile in the first place.
No, I mean really, I'm heading back to school to complete a Ph.D. which can not possibly be worth anything to me at my highly advanced age if not accomplishement, and still I'm confident that the directed actual study will bring me - my boring un-narrative mind, doncha know - into some actual resolution. Some catalysis not yet death.
And I am sure, gentle reader, that you are just dying for that! Some conclusion, finally to endless ramblings on increasing nothingness without time, especially, to edit. Without narrative shape - a story - it is just random troves of meaningless words; the swirl of memories in my brain without likelihood of conscious retrieval. Of ordering into something worth following!
And so I wander and meander seeming random in the paths I take. Is there choice in them or remembering, because sometimes I do remember myself where I'd thought I might be breaking new ground. And if remembering can also lead toward the future then what is it or who? it I could remember but the one I love, or left in his true season?
There is a terrible discomfort with paradox, I discover, among almost everyone with a scientific bent. As though it is the burden of science to remove such things. I know for a fact that there is not room in my mind at once for even two competing thoughts, let alone two incommensurate ones, but that thing which I call my mind is never just one thing either. It scintillates, the way you can when gazing at some gestaltish shifting shape which might be a woman young or old, but never both at once. You hold them in your mind as it were as promise that the shifting can be accomplished near at will.
Each time I coalesce from the seeming swirling mass of facts competing for my attention (as if the facts themselves might have compulsion?!) I collapse the myriad other narratives which would construe them. Those might-have-beens move, rather, to my peripheral attention. Not gone, perhaps, but attenuated and eventually lost to a geography which may or may not persist beyond the geography of my own mind.
The world will end along with me surely if I don't do something about it. That would be the moral of any story well-writ.
I do know that if I don't do it myself, there will be nothing left of me among the digital repositories of those words and pictures I have taken. Which matters not a whit but that they compose me and therefore I must be letting myself be subsumed into someone else's data whose prominence will render my presence, well, peripheral.
Unless I make connection, which is why the story counts.
And so it begins.