I Forgot to Remember to Forget

July 9th, 2007 § 3 comments

I have come to find that there is a distinct difference between remembering and feeling haunted by that remembrance, although I am not quite sure what provokes these different reactions to grief. I think about him everyday I am sure at least once, but usually in a casual way; a thought pops into my head, I hear an old Dylan song, a joke comes floating back momentarily, I catch his face looking at me from the pictures on my bedroom mirror or glowering as I close the fridge after pulling out an item to eat. It is a fleeting moment usually, but enough, satisfying in the way an unrecognized moment, second even, of happiness is. Then there are the feelings that arrive through inevitably dwelling not on a memory or a thought, but on details; a sort of systematic dissection of collided lives, in which a real relationship that existed once becomes like a story in a book, without sentimental feeling but filled with judgment. The dissection turns into a torture of questions, in which decisions that have long since been made are changed for the sake of imagining a different outcome. This leads always and only to frustrated and angry depression. The latter set of feelings have become less and less frequent as time has passed, I rely more on the former experience of memory, but a renewed effort in the studio of last semesters theme has forced, by shear contact, the haunting I dislike. There is no defense or possible escape from it, the only consolation can come from people that I can’t approach, I loath the selfishness of even thinking about telling someone that I miss their brother or son.

In a recent dream I knew that if I could not find him before he came back, he was off somewhere for an extended period of time, someplace I got the impression he did not want to be (with doctors), he would not come back at all. I was looking frantically for him, for information that could tell me where he was, for someone to let me see him…I awoke to the realization that the thing I was trying to prevent, had, in reality, happened to me almost a year ago now. I wonder if this work has ceased to be productive, or rather, since I like the way it looks, if it is worth the feelings it dredges up.

§ 3 Responses to I Forgot to Remember to Forget"

  • Jackie Storm says:


    I would never consider it selfish to communicate your feelings of loss. To the contrary, I would feel it very meaningful. I also feel the dredging up of those feelings through your work to be extremely worthwhile. I think when you allow yourself to go to the deepest part of the forrest, you can experience illumination or direct knowing without judgement. I hope this makes sense dealing as we are with situations that seem so intangible.


  • a guzman says:

    I say selfish because I can’t compare what I feel to what you must feel, I know I would be more selfish with my grief, or at least I imagine that I would be. But perhaps one of the few comforts to loss is some kind of collectivity. When I try to put myself in some other place, I can only do so by thinking of a world without my brother, and I can’t because I have never known one. It is funny, people are so transitory and yet so fixed at the same time. Reality does not really seem real most of the time, and yet I feel so bounded by its perceived limits. This makes me think about a story about a happiness machine, but I will have to read it and get back to that.

    I know the work does mean something, it is just hard to make for reasons that I never even tell my committee. They think it is painful on one level, when it is painful on a completely different one. It does not keep it fresh or remind me of him because I never forget, he is a presence within all that I do, I sense him always at the sea and going up hills. Sometimes I have to turn back more times than I ought. But the works brings forth some kind of anxiety that I did not realize I had. Or it causes it, which was my closing fear.

    Do artists always have to make things harder than they are, or more complicated than they need to be?

  • Jackie Storm says:

    I think as a species we complicate life in an effort to try and understand it. Probably all we succeed in doing is distracting ourselves. Or maybe the complication is what makes it varied and rich. I definitely think we misuse our intellect. And that may become an obstacle if it’s used mostly as an analytical tool rather than a channel for creative energy. That’s just my opinion.

    At any rate, got a message from Jon through a medium in the Grand Canyon that Jon was working with children in Afganistan. My sister asked her what kind of work. She said she couldn’t see exactly but that it made sense as there were so many displaced children there. She’s an interesting woman married to the owner of Verkamps (trading post on the south rim of the Grand Canyon). Don’t know how I feel about all that but it’s interesting.

    I guess one of the great mysteries of death are the surprises. You expect the experience to put you face to face with your own mortality. What I wasn’t expecting is that it also puts you face to face with your own immortality.

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