Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015--Facts

Rona said, "I've given on the importance of facts."

M and I looked at her. To our unasked question, she said, "Maybe as time goes by I'm having difficulty remembering them, but I think it's more than that."

"More than that?" M asked.

"I think I am beginning to live a post-fact life." She sensed we weren't following. "Could be a rationalization for the effects of growing older but . . ." She trailed off. Then picked up, "I read a lot. At least I used to. But only a few months after reading something I can't remember the details. Forget the names of characters. This used to bother me. Really bothered me. But not any longer. It's either that I'm coming to accept this about myself or, as I said, I'm giving up on their importance. Facts."

"I'm younger than you," M said, "But I'm the same way and it doesn't trouble me. I mean, why do we read? I'm talking mainly about fiction. To remember things? Or for them to have a different kind of effect on us."

"Like what?" I asked. "Though I think I agree with you."

"Even before you've heard what I have to say?" She smiled at me.


"Don't we read to experience life in all its forms, especially when the lives we read about, that we encounter, are different than our own? To for a moment live in different worlds. Their worlds. To be transported. To be inspired. To understand things that are best communicated through writing and the art of writing. Don't we read more for that than to remember narrative details or," looking toward Rona and smiling, "the names of the major characters?"

"You making my point for me. And quite well. I'm becoming reconciled to being comfortable with that. Not remembering the specifics but, as I said, I'm intentionally giving up on wanting to retain everything as a way of freeing myself to live a different kind of life. Without trying to make myself sound too important, to help me live a freer, more serene, more sensitive and thoughtful life. Without the burden of being swamped by too many facts. Or, to put it another way, too much information."

"That doesn't sound 'too important' to me--your word--but smart and a good way to approach things at this time in your life."

"My time in life as well," M chimed in, "Yes, I have to be concerned about my career and supporting myself from it, but I also want to be this post-fact kind of person. At least during my non-working times. I also like to think about myself as a creative person and feel that not worrying so much about retaining everything, by doing so, or allowing myself to let some things go, I am clearing enough space in my brain, in my consciousness, for creative activity. For that, ideas need room to move about and find each other in fresh and unpredictable ways."

"I like that," Rona said. "It's good to know that you don't think there's anything wrong with me."

"That's for another time," I said with a wink.

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