Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Memory String

Beginning of summer
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The buttercups bloom out over the river. Now it is summer. This summer is different from every other summer, yet shares in summerness. Tonight we saw the first fireflies of the season; they seemed FAT and sassy, giving out more light and being bigger than I remembered.

Robert, my brother, said that writing about his childhood was like finding the end of a piece of string. When he started to write, it was like pulling at the string and getting more and more string . . .

Here is a quote on the memory thread from a book that P loaned me because I ought to read it, she said. I was already far behind in reading projects, but I did read it. Here is the quote from One Man’s Bible by Gao Xingjian.

"Remote childhood is hazy, but some bright spots float up in memories. When you pick up one end of a thread, memories that have been submerged by time gradually appear and, like a net emerging from the water, they are interconnected and infinite. The more you pull, the more threads seem to appear and disappear. Now that you have picked up one end and again pulled up a whole mass of happenings from different times, you can’t start anywhere, can’t find a thread to follow. It’s impossible to sort them to put them into some sort of order. Human life is a net, you want to undo it a knot at a time, but only succeed in creating a tangled mess. Life is a muddled account that you can’t work out."

Human life is a net! At the finca in Colombia, after my brother Richard's wedding, a group of us walked together to see a pond that had been stocked with small, silvery fish. Richard's father-in-law planned to move some to another pond, to get them started there. While we watched, one of the workers from the finca flung a net out over the surface. It was a large net, but it opened out in a great arc and settled softly into the water. They pulled it in and put the fish into a pail. Somebody else wanted to throw the net, but his throw was not very graceful. I am very glad that I had this experience and that I can remember it. More about memory to follow. And about writing. And about what slips through the net . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment