For Those of us Who Keep Journals

 Bridge over Outlet Bass Lake
photo by Will Hardin. Bass Lake Outlet
Journal entry
Vol. 44:
Friday
1/11/08
After 5576 pages (since 1987… earlier volumes destroyed), nothing could be clearer. My journals don’t aspires to “literature.” To be sure, there are moments–caught up in passing enthusiasms–whole volumes when plain insanity wears 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 the snapshots my family used to keep.

Moving pictures.

Like the 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 …?

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

If it’s our lot–condemned to misremembering, erasing the violence we have done, to ourselves, to our fellow creatures on this earth, let us begin to remember forward, to creatively body forth from imagination, a world where there will be no need to forget the horrors we seem unable to face in our past.

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