The Eternal in the Transitory (Or, The Power of a Moment)

I am a dreamer.  I always have been.  There’s no other way to say it.

Indeed, there have been times in my life when I’ve been accused of being distant, with a faraway look in my eyes exploring the unseen and ephemeral worlds and galaxies that stretch beyond the purview of the here and now.  As someone once told me, “Even when you’re here, you’re not always here.”

 

From the time I could walk and talk, question and imagine, my mind has been prone to wander.  When I was a child, I’d visualize batting cleanup for the New York Mets, in the bottom of the ninth, the World Series on the line.  I’d create an entire scenario, announcing the action from a phantom broadcast booth, crafting a plot full of twists and intrigue, complete with regular-season backstory and statistical analysis.  Or I’d invent new games with my friends, the same friends who provided the inspiration for the protagonists in The Eye-Dancers and The Singularity Wheel.  The games could be anything, and played anywhere, from the dark corners of the basement to the dining room table to the neighborhood street out front.

 

More than anything, though, I’d think of stories.  I wrote my first story in the second grade, and once I started, I was hooked.  Through the years, I have written dozens upon dozens of short stories, a couple of novels, hundreds of blog posts, and pretty much whatever strikes my fancy at any moment.  Writing to me is akin to breathing.  I wouldn’t survive without it.

 

The thing is, when I dust off the cobwebs of my earliest stories (the ones I still have, anyway), there are paragraphs, scenes, large chunks of pages that I can’t even remember writing.  Reading through these works from yesteryear provides a primary-source window into my preteen or teenage self, a glimpse into what I was thinking and how I was interpreting the world.  The stories, penciled on paper that has yellowed and faded with the passage of time, preserve a part of me that, absent the written testimony, might have been irretrievably lost.

 

But then, life itself is like that, isn’t it?  We get up in the morning, still half-asleep, and, on auto control, we stagger through the routines that keep us going and prepare us for the day ahead.  Sure, at some point, we wake up and can function at a higher level.  But even then, how much of what we do is mechanical, prescribed, almost as if we were a software program patterned in a particular way to perform a certain and specific set of duties?

 

What did you have for breakfast on April 6, 2006?  What time did you go to bed on October 25, 2015?  Who did you meet, hang out with, talk to, on March 2, 1997?  Did you watch TV on August 7, 2017?  If so, what did you watch?  What did you do in school on November 10 during your junior year?  These questions, and countless more, are all but unanswerable, the contents lost amid the swirling miasma of our collective memories.  When you consider it, you begin to realize that, unless you are eidetic,  perhaps as much as 99 percent of our life is forgotten, stored away in a file, deep within the crevices and folds of our brain, accessible, perhaps, but only in our dreams or a state of subconsciousness that liberates us from the shackles of our peripatetic and ever-racing world.

 

Perhaps that is as it should be.  Though I have always wished for a way to press a mental button, as it were, and access any tidbit of information, no matter how trivial, from my past (because, yeah, now that we’re asking, what did I have for breakfast on April 6, 2006?!), I realize that having so many conscious memories floating around simultaneously would be akin to circuit overload.  We’d have so much data, so many moving images competing for supremacy, we’d feel as though we were in a perpetual wrestling match with individual and specific recollections from our past.  While not nearly as overwhelming as the predicament in which Monica Tisdale finds herself in The Singularity Wheel, where she has accessed her memories and experiences from a billion billion universes, the effect might nonetheless feel similar.

 

From chapter fifteen of The Singularity Wheel:

“She felt like crying again.  The memories he spoke of were stacked, multi-faceted.  She had shared these things with her dad in a limitless number of worlds.  They mixed together, like particles in a celestial blender.  In gaining access to everywhere, all of her, in all places, she had lost her essence.  While she could now sip from every cup throughout all creation, she could not drink deeply from any single one.  Everything was a fragment, a fleeting glimpse, here and gone in a moment.”

 

And so, as a mental safety valve, as a firewall against oversaturation, our brain grasps onto the meaningful things, the memories that matter, the events that shape us and form us and leave their mark, like a calligraphy of the soul.  Sometimes, these events are ordinary on the surface, just little things, a subtle gesture, a kind word, a remark from a teacher we never forget.  Moments.  Fleeting, but essential, so essential, in fact, that our mind, our heart, our core, recognizes them for what they are and sticks a flag in them, a reference point that can always be accessed down through the years.  “Remember this?” the flag will say.  “Remember how you felt when that happened?”

 

Not all the markers are positive, of course.  Sometimes, we wish we could forget, but we hold on.  But many of them are positive, and they beckon to us like stands of nourishment and refreshment scattered along the winding, broken, uneven road of life.  And while I will always find it frustrating that I forget so much, that so many moments are erased into the fog of oblivion, I have learned to appreciate the things I do remember.  Moments with my mother that will endure for the rest of my life, despite her passing this winter.  Moments with family and friends, childhood memories that persist, to this day as fresh and vibrant as when they occurred.

 

I’ve written about some of those memories in this blog.  I will write about others in future posts.  Still others have been “fictionalized” in The Eye-Dancers and The Singularity Wheel.  I suppose I’ll keep writing about them for as long as I’m here.

Because any moment, no matter how brief or “small,” and no matter how long ago it may have happened, can be eternal.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Superduque777
    May 21, 2018 @ 19:07:39

    Reply

  2. The Eye-Dancers
    May 21, 2018 @ 19:56:35

    Thank you for the link.:)

    Reply

  3. joannerambling
    May 21, 2018 @ 20:54:48

    Wow………….what a wonderful post

    Reply

  4. patternsofsouldevelopment
    May 21, 2018 @ 20:56:02

    “Eternal in the Transitory”, this is what we are – and who knows, maybe not just on this one plane. Great post, and great writing, BTW.

    Reply

  5. rmcalzada
    May 22, 2018 @ 02:49:46

    Very wise words. I used to worry about how it’s our nature to only hold on to memories that we deem important and/or comfortable for us. Now I’m learning that every experience and memory has its place in my life 🙂

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      May 23, 2018 @ 12:21:15

      Thanks! And yes–I believe that, too. Even things we forget on a conscious level are still “in there” somewhere, and still impact us. One of the reasons I am so intrigued by dreams is that I believe dreams tap into our subconscious, and explore themes and fears and hopes that we don’t always admit to during waking hours.

      Reply

  6. Patrice
    May 22, 2018 @ 19:52:55

    Beautiful, beautiful. And absolutely correct ❤

    Reply

  7. ritaroberts
    May 23, 2018 @ 08:31:14

    Very moving !! I would think most people can relate to what you say thank you for sharing your thoughts..

    Reply

  8. TheDreamGirlWrites
    May 24, 2018 @ 14:36:14

    Wow!! I relate to this!!
    I don’t really know if you do Award posts but I still wanted to let you know that you have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award.
    Do check out my post for more information 🙂
    https://thedreamgirlwrites.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/little-ms-sunshine/

    Reply

  9. TheDreamGirlWrites
    May 24, 2018 @ 14:36:54

    *anymore

    Reply

  10. europasicewolf
    May 28, 2018 @ 22:59:12

    I too can relate to this! I’d also agree that you can learn a lot about where you were at, as it were, when reading back through stuff you wrote in the younger years…I was clearly pretty “screwed up” looking back at what I wrote then…lol…it’s actually still quite good in areas but it reflected some very messy times for sure! I wouldn’t write that sort of thing now. Clearly I was very angry and unhappy with life then! And how much gets forgotten! So many memories came back re-reading past writings, all be they were written somewhat cryptically at the time. My inner past child still knew what had been going on! 🙂

    Reply

  11. The Eye-Dancers
    May 28, 2018 @ 23:50:55

    Indeed.:) Our old writing can be almost like a time machine, can’t they? They definitely jar memories we might otherwise have forgotten!

    Reply

  12. jjspina
    May 30, 2018 @ 00:43:49

    Wonderful post, Mike! Your posts are always deep and profound. 🤗😀

    Reply

  13. The Eye-Dancers
    May 30, 2018 @ 18:10:57

    Thank you so much, Janice!:)

    Reply

    • jjspina
      Jun 03, 2018 @ 13:30:27

      I, too, often think about memories. Where do they go? How long can we retain them? Why do some stay with us and keep coming forth while others are lost forever? Fascinating concept to think about and write about.
      I look forward to reading your new book. It’s on my over-stuffed TBR List. Sigh! I will get to it, I promise.
      Best wishes always, Mike. Keep writing! You are talented and eloquent! 🤗

      Reply

  14. The Eye-Dancers
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 12:01:29

    Thank you, Janice.:) It is not an exaggeration to say that you actually made my day.:) Your support means a lot!

    Reply

  15. evelyneholingue
    Jun 08, 2018 @ 23:40:44

    Since I just found a box filled with my early writing from elementary all the way to high school, I can only agree with you when you compare writing to breathing. The fact that we can’t remember everything doesn’t mean that we forgot most of what we’ve lived. Our memories are selective, sometimes to protect us, often to leave room for more significant events. I think that everything we’ve lived, whether we do remember or not, affects us.
    Love your post. I’ve not yet read your latest book since mine is finally in production for a summer release. It took me more time since I was also writing several picture books, two being now in acquisition. I should know soon if it’s a final yes.
    But summer should slow down a bit and it’s the perfect time to catch up with nes books.

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Jun 09, 2018 @ 12:29:31

      Thanks so much, Evelyne! And I agree that, even when we forget things on a conscious level, everything we experience affects us. The vast majority of our waking moments are “forgotten,” but I believe they are stored in the subconscious–and are recalled in odd moments here and there or in our dreams. But they are definitely in us! And I am thrilled to hear you will be reading The Singularity Wheel in the coming months! I will certainly be eager to hear your thoughts.:)

      Reply

  16. reocochran
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:22:40

    I am sorry for the loss of your mother this past winter, Mike.
    I have many friends who lost their parents but I am clinging to time with only my Mom alive. My Dad, sadly smoked and worked fairly unprotected with nuclear energy died at age 69. He had said in the 70’s, foolishly planting a seed in his brain, I feel: “I just hope I live to see the world in 2001!” He so loved the movie, “2001, a Space Odyssey.”
    In a way, due to his strong love for America, the dream and NASA, it is good he didn’t live up to 9/11/01. He passed in January, 2001. He missed the tearing down of Plum Brook in Sandusky, Ohio. He is on the internet and I have a flag that flew around the world on the Space Shuttle “Columbia” which he had tested rocket and shuttle parts for heat resistance. . . He would have liked your eye dancers concept and the solidarity wheel. I’m not so much a Syfy fan nor fantasy. . . Smiles, Robin 🤗

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Jun 10, 2018 @ 11:22:26

      Thanks so much for sharing about your father. It was great, and very moving, to read about him. It does sound like “2001, a Space Odyssey” inspired him. I, too, love that movie.:)

      Reply

  17. reocochran
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:24:17

    oops, sorry: singularity wheel Not solidarity wheel! Sorry, Mike.

    Reply

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