Friday, January 11, 2008

For Those of us who keep Journals

Vol. 44:
After 5576 pages (since 1987... earlier volumes destroyed), nothing could be clearer. My journal in no way aspires to "literature." And never has. Another enterprise. As though the words come from different universes.

To be sure, there are moments--caught up in passing enthusiasms--whole volumes when plain insanity has worn the mask of "art" --but day after day, page after page, what I've compiled is nothing more (or less) than a verbal equivalent of the middlebrow albums of snapshots my family used to keep.

Moving pictures.

Like reels and reels of 16 mm family movies--long since lost. Moments, images, brief visual narratives I hope to return to--and save from the ever changing sequences of organic memory. Something external, I tell myself. Like a photograph. Like those lost silent movies. No less subjectively framed, so no closer to "truth", but at least--external. Free of alteration.

Vane hope. Every reader, and every reading... rewrites what is read. But at least, I tell myself, the words remain. There. In their original sequential order.

So many pages, so many words--an embarrassment of false memory, a presence that begins to weigh on my life (is that why I've burned ten-year segments--twice?... since my earliest entries... 50 years ago?)

Memory serves us to our advantage--only to the degree that we retain the power to transform it.
Anything less, is slavery.

If this is so for us as individuals... how much more is humanity burdened by the false memory of history?

And yet, as Adam in the morning... we would only have to do it all over again.

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