Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Do You Mend?

[Content Disclosure: 0% Poker, 0.3% The Book, . . . 99% other things like love and loss]

"Eventually time passed and had its way with him; not so much a matter of forgetting as of bleaching, or numbing. We look at the past through the wrong end of the telescope, he thought one day; eventually the things we can see in there become simply too small to hurt us." --Kim Stanley Robinson
I like the word bleaching as used here. The slow inexorable loss of color and vitality. When it comes to matters of love or more specifically love lost--the emotion drains away like it is being bleached by time. You can conjure the pain or the sense of loss almost endless, until you can't. Eventually you pick at the scab and find it is gone and the new smooth skin heals. But does the heart callous?
I am not so fond of the image of looking at the past through the wrong end of a telescope. In fact, like Sartre, I think we can alter our past by acting in the present. One man's poison is another man's bread (from my formative years working in the pharmacy). What was once evil may become light as wisdom and experience build but you have to be alert for what is new growth and what is scar tissue.
One wonders about reanimating the bleached dessicated memories and should be warned against it despite the siren lure of once again into the crotch of the beast. What is that writing competition where the winner strings together endless disembodied imagries? And what is the 96th most popular Biography on Amazon.com right now?
The sodden, somber silence of the what-might-have-been.
"Lost chances."
"Right, The fate of chance."
"Some fate is character."
"Sure, But most fate is fate. It's what picks you up and carries you off. Who you meet by accident, what happens--what you feel inside, no matter what you think. And it affects everything. Everything! Every thing. People argue about politics, and policy, the reasons why people did this or that--but it's always the personal stuff that mattered."
"It's always the stuff they don't write about. The stuff they can't write about. The look in someone's eye."
"Right, the way something catches you..."
"The way it carries you away."
"Like falling in love. Whatever the hell that means."
"That's it, sure. Falling in love, being loved back--"
"Or not."
"Right, or not! And everything changes."
"And no one knows why! And later on, or from anywhere on the outside, they look at your story and they say that story makes no sense."
"When if you only knew--"
"Then it would make sense."
"Yes. Perfect sense."
"It would be the story of the heart, every time."
"A history of emotions, If you could do it."
"It would be the heart's story." --Kim Stanley Robinson
I gotta learn to write like that.

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