Process, Practice and Remembering

I forget things.

I forget to continue meticulously planned projects.

I forget to do the dishes. To take medication. To observe the days passing. What sticks in the tangle of neurons in my brain seems arbitrary. Sometimes I think the only reason I remember events from my childhood is that we moved so often. I remember this event, in that room. Maybe it was the newness and the threats and the vigilance it entails that imprinted specific memories. The love beads hanging in the doorway. The candle-drip wax-paper wooden cable-spool coffee table. The coal furnace in the basement. The mice in the bed.

My step-father laughed and said yes, the lamp oil does look like Kool-Aid. He said, imagine if I put it in the refrigerator: you’d drink it, wouldn’t you? I could imagine it. All of it. We had an avocado green refrigerator. Green shag carpet. Shag carpet smells like the dust of former tenants. The dead slough of strangers wedges under your fingernails. My fingernails.

Maybe that is what happens with all my memories? I disown them? I collect things, create things, and shed them. Step back. Is that carelessness? Is it fear? Is it hope?

Many years ago I took part in a Teaching Artist Conference. We all took part in a performance in the park. Someone directed. I realized that where I really longed to be was on the hill looking over it all, observing and considering perspectives. Things fell into place for me. I have been a bit less uncomfortable when my colleague imply – or occasionally directly state – that I don’t fit in with the drama department because I’m not a performer. Not an extrovert. Have an odd sense of humor.

I am a loose sketch – no lines meeting to form discernible shapes. The leaping between lines creates the illusion of definition, and the illusion of freedom from definition. But isn’t this how our brain works? Molecules jumping through extracellular space to create activity that gathers independent elements like a magnet gathering metal shavings: here you see a mustache, here a memory. And this: this is who you were the last time you exhaled.

Now begin again. Nothing ever really melds to another thing’s in and of itself. Everything falls apart.

The desire to be gets in the way of the impulse to do. This is true of too many aspects of my life.

Richard began a new writing process with the new year. I am easing in, three weeks behind but heading toward something new.

Maybe as much as meditation, I need to explore now.