I had this post sort of on a loop being re-read in my mind since I wrote it, because I think it missed the basic point that I was trying to make. The point that I was trying to make was about mystery. The mystery that continues to exist in the people that are close to me in my life. And what I feel so happy for, is that the people I love in my life exist in some sort of quantum state, where they are presented as these solid stable objects, but underneath it all, stuff is uncertain and new and popping in and out of existence. They do not harden. And I say with particular love and gratitude that my parents have maintained this quality. I think we have the ability to easily write off the people that raised us due to the caricature we push them to be; a caricature that usually just highlights the things we have up to the point been unwilling to take ownership over having parts of ourselves.
The garbage below was supposed to be an ode to mystery in those I love.
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I recently finished reading The Burried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro and it has me thinking a lot about memory and my relationships to people. The book follows two elderly Britons, Axel and Beatrice, as they go in search of their son, in a period shortly after King Arthur’s death. Everywhere the land is covered in a mysterious mist that makes everyone forget the past in any concrete way. The mist, it is revealed, is a tool created by King Arthur that makes everyone forget the horrors of the war, therefore allowing peace between the Britons and Saxons. On an individual level, however, it also makes everyone forget the history of their own relationships.
In the main two layers of the story, there is a framing of love and peace as careful balances of history and emotion. Our love for another person is created through a certain awareness of narrative as well as a desire to choose that person to be in our life. And, similarly, peace requires a certain understanding of history, with a choice to try and understand another group of people.
There’s a lot of Big Picture thoughts around what happens when we frame peace (or war for that matter) off of purely emotional or purely historical viewpoints. That is, especially given the current political climate, something that is worth taking some time to ponder. INSTEAD, however, I’ll be talking about my parents.
This idea that love can be thought of as a balance of history and emotion has struck a chord with me at the moment. I’ve been very lucky, in that for the last couple years I’ve been able to enjoy most of my time bouncing around the world for my work. One of the things that has changed a lot because of this is how often I see my parents. The three of us have usually lived relatively close to each other, and now I see them every 6 month or a year.
And it strikes me how they have become more sculptural in this time. The way my mom’s cheeks rise and her eyes close when she smiles, or the way my dad’s fingertips look when they rest on a tabletop. And these things start to stand out more because each of their histories become more prominent in how I think about them; each of their histories become more present in the way that I love them. I say “present in the way that I love them”, because I think there is a way that some people disappear into their histories; the vibration of their character is lost to the stories of times past.
But I see in this time, as history fills the gap in emotion of these two people I know quite well, that they aren’t disappearing, but I think in actuality it just is a different balancing act between the emotion that comes in our time together and the attention I pay to how I remember them. I guess what I’m saying is that I see the multitude of ways that I remember them and how that seems to bring the present into a more textured experience.
Sculptural is not a bad way to describe the love you have for someone. I think what would be sad is if their sculptural form was only created by memory. The best sculptures are ones whose history continues to party with their emotional self.