Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Remember (1)

I remember Vincent Price on Hollywood Squares back in the 1970s.  Peter Marshall asks him, "Is the Shakespearean comedy called A Midsummer's Night Dream, or is it A Midsummer Night's Dream?"  Vincent Price says, "That's a very good question!"  Then he gives the correct answer:  the latter.  I think the contestant agrees with him and wins that square.  Anyway, the thing I remember is that for years afterward I agreed with Vincent that it was indeed a very good question.  Now, I'm just not so sure.

I'm starting something new here.  Old new.  Joe Brainard did this over 40 years ago. 

New to me, then. 

What I'm going to do is record fleeting memories, not necessarily "big" memories with elaborate narratives and obvious relevance to subsequent events in my life, but small, disjointed recollections that don't seem to add up to anything. 

Why, other than an inflated sense of self-importance, would anyone do this? 

Well, for one thing, it's just such tiny happenstances that make up a person's life, and if anything seems likely to be true about what matters in life it is that, as John Lennon said, 30 years ago, "Life is just what happens to you / While you're busy making other plans."

Then there's synchronicity, Jung's idea that meaning is as valid a way to classify events as cause-effect.  

But meaning, as we know, does not exist outside of context, so how can these random non-events gather meaning, stacked willy-nilly in a series of blog postings?  I don't know.  Probably they can't, unless of course the blog itself provides a context ... or unless there's a meaning why, particular to nothing I was doing on campus today, my mind shoved out this decades' old memory of Vincent Price on a game show. 

I can't say for how long I'll pursue this navel-gazing experiment, but just as recording your dreams helps you remember more of them and more details in each one, perhaps recording these fleeting memories will lead me on to something else ... to some other collage version of my life, apart from cause and effect, that may spin together new possibilities of meaning to my life.

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