I have a bus-buddy who takes the same morning Toonerville Trolley (east to west village via 9th street) I do - he's a short rotund friendly older man, plays the trombone - in fact I know him from Broadway Bach Ensemble ('my' orchestra) wherein he plays now & then - and we talk about New York & music & other vagaries & somehow thru some associative roll of the dice ventured this morning into the topic of New England - he recalled having been in the far north of Vermont and I said I'd gone to Middlebury and remembered driving (driving! I had a car and I drove! arrrgh!) up to Johnson State College way up by the Canadian border (I think that's where it was) for a chamber music conference and suddenly was flooded with a tsunami of that reality - a kind of huge abrupt roiling weather system of memory, and I could FEEL being 23, and what that life was like and it was -- awful.
Not that anything was 'bad' about the memory (or that my life then WAS 'awful'), but, as I'm coming to realize is true for me about all memory, because it wasn't what was happening NOW, there seemed something sort of creepily deeply wrong about imagining myself too vividly back into the phantom of it. It really was harrowing. When recently a friend of mine admitted yearningly that he wanted to "get back what I once had" I felt the same icy blast of NO!. There is no doing that. I mean, we all 'know' there's no doing that, but to know it bodily, as I seem to have done today -- to know it viscerally, as part of your moment-to-moment current breathing self, is to know it a whole other way.
And I associate to Stephen King's book "Pet Sematary" - wherein interred beloved pets are SO terribly missed by their former stewards that the intensity of their wanting them back causes the creatures to arise from their graves. Arise, however, as nasty (not to say murderous) corpse-dogs and -cats.
I am fascinated that any "memory" seems to be entirely manufactured in the present as a kind of story we evidently need to tell ourselves to serve whatever our current view of life happens to be. But we truly do make them up. If we re-member them, we re-member them with limbs and faces and behavior we create for them. If we accept that's what we're doing, it seems to me we can have fun with them -- as I think I said in something I posted a while back about the book I envision writing about my family after I move - we can play fast and loose with the images, stories, sounds, senses - PLAY being the operative word. Not enslave ourselves to them as some disinterred corpse of a puppy. And maybe in playing with them, do a kind of justice to something at the heart of them.
I do have my pensées don't I.
Here are some phantoms of me which do not, I repeat DO NOT, exist. Even the last one which I took just a few seconds ago.