Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Episodes of Delirium

"There are stories, like maps that agree... too consistent among too many languages and histories to be only wishful thinking.... It is always a hidden place, the way into it is not obvious, the geography is as much spiritual as physical. If you should happen upon it, your strongest certainty is not that you have discovered it but returned to it. In a single great episode of light, you remember everything."
— Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)

The black cat gets it. He remembers everything. His stare goes through me and I realize how much I’ve forgotten. I used to joke about how I was so competent in my profession that I’d forgotten more than most people knew about it. Now, I am astounded that I ever found humor in that tragic thought.

So what do I remember? I remember that I have been here before. The landscape changes and so do my own eyes. I know that guy in the painting in The Regal bar. I just can’t recall how I know him.

There was a clown drawn in sand at curb between two parking spaces. His story is the same as The Regal guy, and their story is the same as the cat’s and mine. And yours. We’re all here for a short while and then we’re gone so long, our existence seems ephemeral. But the story will go on, much more substantial than wishful thoughts, and it’s enough to remember that.

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