If dreams are like movies then memories are films about ghosts

truth no longer matters much to me
I prefer to value intoxicatingly interesting days

and so I let things slide without grace into their
self selected place

I have not enough time to waste space sorting
through all that is me.

~ Jason Lyle Baucom

I distinctly remember, as a child, listening to my mom tell me stories about her life B.A. (yes, that would be Before Amanda) with rapt attention – along with myriad other sentiments… ranging from awe to embarrassment to bewilderment to pride. My interest did vary based on the subject matter I have to admit, but one thing that always stood out to me was hearing her say, “Ten years ago….” or “Twenty years ago…” And being blown away at the reality of powerful and meaningful memories of things from that long ago. The idea of having memories that far back just didn’t compute. I always hear that opening line in Sargent Pepper’s…

I still equate stories that begin “Twenty years ago…” with my mom, or perhaps Abe Lincoln and his “Four score and 7,” or at least people who have so much more life experience than I do.  This is clearly ridiculous, but you know, old habits of mind… So of course, I am constantly surprised as I find myself recalling events and people and places and with vivid (if subjective) detail and then being hit over the head with the realization that what I am thinking about happened… TWENTY YEARS AGO.

I started high school 25 years ago – I still remember the illusion that it would be like a John Hughes film as if it were yesterday. 20 years ago my friend Willie was in Germany as the Wall was coming down and he brought a piece of it back to California for me. Just three years later Willie died. I graduated from UCSD 16 years ago and I can still see Dave Gutierrez (swoon) speaking to us and feeling the La Jolla wind on my face as I contemplated my upcoming forays in Europe. On August 9, it will be 14 years since Jerry Garcia died and I wish I had my photos here to share the Polo Fields memorial with everyone who does not understand how significant the community experience of the Grateful Dead was to those of us lucky enough to have a peek…

It has been nearly twelve years since Jason died.

This must sound morose… but I am not meaning it to be. These events… these singular moments that crystallize in our brains and combine to make up a lifetime sometimes seem so much more vivid in my mind. I remember so many other kinds of things as well: first kisses, first crushes, first humiliations, moments of startling clarity and moments of frightening confusion… Adventures and misadventures. Frankly, it’s awesome.

I spent nearly a year trading travel stories with a friend back in 2005 and was struck at the depth of memory. What stays with us. True, it is selective and subjective as hell… but that sure makes it a fabulous tapestry. Is it real? Is it true? Dreams are like movies, and memories are films about ghosts. And truth? Well, truth is as truth does. Perhaps Paul Simon was right when he ignored truth and said: “Faith is an island in the setting sun… But proof, yes… Proof is the bottom line for everyone.”

What’s your proof?

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About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Chasing the Life I was Supposed to Want, Family, Friends, Life, Music, Perception and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to If dreams are like movies then memories are films about ghosts

  1. driss says:

    I remember reading an anecdote once about a man with a photographic memory, from back in the time immediately after WWII. The Soviet government was eager to see how he would be able to help out in some capacity in the intelligence game, and were quickly disappointed. The fact that the man could not forget “minor” details ended up working against them, as he was unable to function in the role they assigned him. It took him so long to process new information (if my own memory serves me correctly), that he was almost completely ineffective. As it turns out, the people who initially wanted him found that being able to forget helps us discern the important things in life from the trivial. Just what defines “important” and “trivial” however is still a mystery; as there are plenty of things which we would love to remember but cannot, and others which we would prefer to forget. In the end, everyone’s brain has a slightly different set of rules to work with than those which the heart is given… when the two combine in the correct manner however- that ensuing movie in our mind ends up with all the “good parts” and all the “scary parts” in their proper place.

    I still have a hard time remembering what “today’s date” is though. Twenty years, twenty minutes… it’s all the same in my mental film.

  2. carol barickman says:

    It’s all about where you put your attention. Attention turns the trivial to the important, tells the brain what to remember or forget, strengthens a memory into one’s “story” which then becomes “true” through habitual repetition or repeatedly bringing your attention to the movie/story.You don’t sound morose you are
    grieving. Time is the main character in the movie of life. Remember Jim Morrison. He didn’t only say “People are strange..” he said “No one here gets out alive”. Transformations, there are some memories worthy of attentioin. m

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