we go on we go on

I'm still clearing out, going through, culling papers, dropping duplicates, while saving some for other purposes, my ultimate goal being a complete screenplay, the end product of the 7-month course I just finished.  I know i've been muttering about it a lot but the paper mountain is daunting and I felt like Sisyphus but I didn't deserve the punishment the way he did.  I'm not talking about the script, at least not yet.

As I forge through the papers, I keep coming across little notes, asides to myself intended for some later thoughts.  So here's one: "the shifting landscape of a faltering memory".  There is no attribution, no indication of source and I am pretty fastidious about that, so I must assume it's a random phrase taken out of a non-fiction piece of writing, perhaps a review? Anyway, it resonated for  me.  I'm sure that you have encountered faltering memories in some of your contemporaries (if not yet in yourself). 

What touches me about the phrase, though, is the description of the faltering memory, calling it a shifting landscape. That's frightening,  but also beautiful.  It must be terrifying to feel one's solid ground, the facts based in the bedrock of memory, moving under one's feet and certainty, stronger than faith, no longer sure. (Sure, by the way, comes from the Latin, securus, meaning free from care. Exactly.) Actually, I do have some first-hand knowledge of what uncertainty feels like.  

My easy dismissal of my own problem is a line I've been saying for  years: "I was born without a map but I swallowed a clock." I mean that I have a good sense of time and timing but I can't fight my way out of a paper bag. I can't even locate the elevator in a hotel after I have just found my room. It's a failing I tolerate in myself and I allow for extra time to get lost when I'm going somewhere so I won't be late. (Timing!)  Occasionally, however, my weakness has put me into a black hole that I can't seem to get out of.   I totally lose my perspective and all orientation and I cannot, cannot, get my bearings.  I can still remember three such occasions when I could not recover.  So I know the terror of the shifting landscape.

I guess it's an obligue gift that enables me to sympathize with other people's problem(s).   

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! 
It wad frae mony a blunder free us, 
An' foolish notion....

(Robbie Burns, of course)