Without Remembering

Another sunrise, another life

Creating is not remembering… It is to look and to hear and to write — without remembering. It is the immediate feelings arranged in words as they occur to me.” — Gertrude Stein

Sun up, an everyday habit.

Sun up, an everyday habit.

We are all in our ruts, our patterns, our habits. It’s a relief, I suppose, to discover they are all ours, to share.

I am pretty often hearing the admonishment to “live in the moment.” I feel I am pretty good at this, and the reason is because I fail all the time to interrupt myself in the midst of repeating pattern behaviors. I say: “I will change. I wil be different tomorrow,” or even in the next moment, but then there I go, off “living in the moment” and I fall back into the same habits. I am so busy creating my life, I find it hard to remember to make the many alterations that I say I should do.

This “new age” ideology seems to argue against the idea that our life stories are already “told” by some higher being. It seems like a dichotomy of self and identity: am I already determined? Or can I, tomorrow, be someone new and reinvented? If only I remember to do it.

Or is that already determined?

I drive down East Main Street for the millionth time — having the experience my own Mom must have had once upon a time.

“I drove these old streets to death. What a rut. Will I always?” That’s one way the thought turns.

Then, a month or so later, the thought turns again, and I drive under a canopy of trees filling in, my eyes taking in the renovation of the an old corner deli and I catch hold in my heart for a moment the small business dream inside, and I realize this is my Gilmore Girl HOME. The idea of it changes me with one subtle heart flutter.

And then I am driving down East Main and asking Mom on my hands-free device the existential question of why why why we have to all live life exactly the same — though we think we aren’t — and learn it and hurt the same way, all over again. And Mom is listening and smoking and she just says she isn’t sure, but I guess probably she’s glad to hear that I’ve arrived somewhere she’s already visited.

And now I’m wondering what islands in the Ocean of Time she’s seen and can’t explain but knows, as she blows out her smoke, that I will get to also some day.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.