Marvin Hamlisch composed a musical classic, but for it to work the listener actually has to buy into a lie. Not exactly a terrible lie, but the song’s premise does ask us to believe the impossible. That while living a precious moment in our lives we are also capable of seeing what we are living. A poetic thought to be sure, but no one this side of paradise has ever really experienced it. That’s because, as Ms Streisand’s soaring lyric explains, only the memory of it can “light the corners of my mind.” By the time our moment is a memory, the moment itself is gone.
Ironically, though, It’s this very absence of the moment which gives the memory so much of its power.
Is this to say everything precious in our little lives is only fleeting…? Yes. Merely fragile…?Obviously. The sand won’t stop flowing through our clutching fingers.The times of our lives flow ceaselessly, one into another, into another. Like some hissing white waves, we may enjoy riding them; and yet it’s only once we’ve reached the beach tired and spent that the recollection can begin. The reconstruction. And especially the re-imagintion.
Perhaps one of our worst technological mistakes is our 24/7 instant replay! Now mere microseconds after “the way we were, ” our hardware takes our place in telling the tale. In reporting the story. But wait a minute! Does this mean MY stories, My moments, MY legacy are henceforth to be told for me? I didn’t see that in the small print! I don’t think I shall like that world!
Many may approve, saying from now I we’ll have just the unvarnished facts. No more tall tales, no more myths, no more legends. Did the Babe really call out his 1938 homer in Wrigley Field…? Did Nixon really lose to Kennedy because he sweat too much dung the Debates..? Were there really hidden messages in films like “The Wizard of Oz” and albums by the Beatles…? Oh and did Bonnie really whisper all these sweet things I’ve been saying she said during our special Summer of ’48…?
From now on — just the facts. The straight, dull, un-technicolored B&W facts of our lives. Oh but I can see storm clouds gathering over the the lives of reporters, playwrights, novelists, poets, young lovers, old biographers, even historians; and especially aging grandparents whose easel’s of imagination drip with a thousand shades beside B&W,
Filed under: Uncategorized