Mount Shasta, April 8, 2004: Where do these stories come from? I mean, mostly they’re true, except for a lie or two. But what makes this story or that story emerge into memory? What makes this memory or that memory form itself into a little story?
Sometimes something seen, or other people’s stories, will trigger my own, though there seems little (conscious) connection between stories, not that I’m too proud to steal!
Will steal for food!
My commonest way to get stories is from when I’m yakking with Adrienne. We tend to smooze at the table around breakfast-time and supper-time. Perhaps this reveals that I’m a food-smoozer, but I don’t care!
For some reason, any wandering conversation tends to trigger certain memories for me. I grew up being a show-off, obnoxious, insecure kid, and I still have the impulse to react, “Oh, yeah! Lemme tell you what happened to me!” This ignoble passion then brings memories to mind.
And the memories are surprising, and often trigger wondering. For example, in our conversation last night I recalled that lots of our high school girls used to take classes called “Charm School.” The girls learned to walk like models, for example. Yet I’ve heard of no such thing since that time. So it raises the curious question: What has happened to the charm schools?
A few nights ago, Adrienne and I were talking about something back in San Anselmo, and that made me think of Ram Das, who was living up the same street, and that made me remember Kit Thorn and I meeting Ram Das, back then called Richard Aplert.
It’s all basically the Proust mechanism, I think. The little scent of a madelaine cookie brings back a rush of memory, and within that memory, threads of others, and they expand away from you even as you pursue. They are growing, away from you, and the faster you chase, the behinder you get. Just like Alice. You think?
The trick of storying, then, is not the triggering of memories, but rather of grabbing them as they flit lightly through the mind, as they dissolve away from us, hurtling gently toward oblivion.
That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.