A la recherche de temps perdu

or, what’s past is prologue.

A funny thing happened on the way to bed. The forum was closed.

I’ve been writing a lot recently on the way in which PD makes me feel, and you (oh, hang on, am I now addressing an audience? Jeepers) might be forgiven for wondering whether, despite my protestations, this is the beginning and end of my self-definition. Don’t ask me. I suppose what it does is bring various things into sharp relief. Sometimes rather too sharp relief.

The past is something which hangs around like the skeleton at the feast, like Banquo’s ghost, a macabre reminder not of itself, but how you saw the future then. How today looked yesterday. How yesterday prepared you for today – or how it singularly failed to do so. And these are more than memories of projections, but simple manifestations of how the past has made the present.

Onto the funny thing.

Every so often, a mildly drunken conversation leads to the picking up of a guitar and a bit of singing. It’s always foolish, because for starters, I’m hideously out of shape, guitar-wise (and not much better vocally), and for finishers (the only logical place to go after starters, other than middlers, I suppose), this non-defining condition means that my co-ordination is shot, my left hand can’t handle even simple chords on occasion … and so on.

So, playing leads to frustration leads to anger leads to …

Last night, I responded to a request to play by playing an old tune of mine. A good tune. Not that hard. Oh, the irony, it was called The Story of my Day.

I couldn’t do it.

More than that, however, I couldn’t even sing it.

Not technically, but more that I couldn’t muster up that extra whatever that makes a song work. I didn’t have the heart to sing it. Now that is strange.

My audient made a simple suggestion: ‘Write a new tune. That’s old. It’s done. It’s not you. Write a new tune.’ That was the jist of it, anyway.

The past is myself. Karen Blixen. Actually, I think she was wrong. The past is a path. It leads to now, but is in the most telling ways shut off from us. We cannot retrace our footsteps. There was no Ariadne who handed us a ball of temporal twine. There is no labyrinth. There are no options, just certainties. I am here because I couldn’t be anywhere else without being someone else.

The past is prologue. The story, however, starts now.

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