Looking back at something is never the same as living through the event or trying to describe it. As everything we go through in life filters into both our consciousness and our expression, it’s always interesting to take a long view and look back at events that we remember, although we don’t revisit them daily in our minds. Or perhaps we do go over the bumps and ruts of each feeling, but at some cellular level, where we only are jolted into recognition from a Proustian smell, or a picture that’s of ourselves. We haven’t seen it in so long, we’ve forgotten the exact moment, but we see the details that we remember. The rocks by the ocean, the jacket we bought as a gift and loved to watch being worn, the moment. We forget what we looked like because we never saw it from the outside. We can only be surprised at our expression, or happy to see that a moment that was so complicated with emotion scratched itself in the surface of more than one memory.
This is why I think writing is both essential and dangerous. You’re entering territory with warning signs at regular intervals. The effort is in both filtering all that information and letting all those emotions wash over and through you as you remember and invent. And every act of remembering is an invention – until you see the expression that was captured for all time and now must stand in for an endless wave of response, the blood rushing to the heart, the tongue, the head, and recreating it all again in the present.