Tuesday, September 21, 2010

future history

Funny how no matter how hard anyone tries not to, still they become history. It happens in every moment (no lectures in that department, please), but at the time of experiencing, it seems unusual that experience will become our own or someone else's history.

You go to the amusement park on a particular Thursday night and 10 years later, the adventure becomes part of a jigsaw puzzle someone is trying -- in vain -- to complete.

All of this came wisping around in my mind today because I got a note from a college student wanting to make a documentary about a mystery my mother wrote 50 years ago -- "The Horizontal Man." The book was thought of as a roman à clef about a murder on the Smith College campus. My mother went to and my father taught at Smith and readers were at pains to guess which fictional character represented which non-fictional person. I always thought it was my mother's way of expressing the pent-up-ness of an academic world she found suffocating.

But her feelings, whatever they actually were when writing the book, were alive and lively in their time. There was no need to translate or interpret or find meaning in them because they were already on the front burner ... right now. I seriously doubt that my mother thought of her efforts as 'future history.'

But future history -- the trip to the amusement park, the wonderful wedding, the sunset in Nevada, the truly great joke, the reading of a blog -- is how things seem to go. Experience is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of sass or sorrow, and yet turns into a furrowed brow of memory ... and not at all as full of electricity as experience itself.

Soldiers fought in wars and can remember with searing clarity ... but the books written about those wars or even those first-hand memories cannot be transmitted or encased. And still there is something inside that does not want experience to be relegated to the dust-bin of history -- a second-hand, lifeless and inaccurate realm at best.

It's just odd ... and I'm just prattling.