——What ever actually happened is now glorified, or it is shattered; it is pure pathos either way. Life in the future open to us will never reconcile what we have done. Or straighten out the mythologies of the dead and gone. The past is confessedly no longer happening, in any sense, and has spent its fury. Why celebrate, as if wishing to be back there? Or whine, as if wishing time never passed?  Go on, and send the best calculated truth to a risky place in your sentiments. Why methodically investigate, and prod the carcass of a leftover past that is obviously inert?  Study cannot find the missing ingredient to make fragments suddenly cohere. I need a miraculous context, I think! Do you think people in the past knew any more than you? What actually happened? This cannot be pursued, in such terms! How often is this tag applied, these days? When am I writing, in what year? Is this the year of infatuation with reality, as to what could actually happen? Stunned, I stood before a waterfall; and I knew then the past was gone. It would have to be conjured from very slim remains, in order to supply that cavity in my brain with content to address the murdering mystery I saw all around me, in conjunction with silent nature and all that half-baked learning thrown at me, like chunks of plaster.
——Sorry. When I find this paragraph later I am going to repair it. I see myself in a place, like some hotel suite, engaged in endless textual revisions.  Though they can’t keep up with my other galloping self, who keeps plowing into things, and burying me again in the crisis of awareness.
——Reality–what binds it–has been whisked out, at a moment’s notice,  like it was a proposition briefly held and even, dare I say it, meant to be discarded. I am on thin ice. I have seen how others can plunder the archives of this missing world, that left itself in evidence, and find it subject to any quick use, or convenience, or delay. We are so vacant of standing purpose, so versatile!  Unsalvagable ruins are available, any motive can work them over; we are so greedy, whatever dispute you are involved in in your life, or fiction you wish to inflict on your neighbors, needs but a moment’s strategy.  Versions of what actually happened multiply, research into it becomes a game of trivial pursuit, then the algorithm, of the search engine, of the internet, and a dissembling roaring in the ears. The phrase itself, what actually happened, is a bridge over an abyss, a billboard, a palliative, an advertisement, an acceptable contradiction, a shrug, nicely sloughing off any job of making sense–I mean it sounds to me almost intentional.
——But it is just a compact of neglect. I am just naturally suspicious, I always think everybody else knows what I am thinking. There is no such thing as what actually happened. Nothing ever actually happened. This is a thing reserved for us condemned to be alive. Ha!  Do you think mystery is not a hard sentence! That men and women were once of greater mettle?  Balderdash, I say. Could they stand this?  Much less enjoy it! They died on the vine. We live in a flow of unprecedented, assaulting confusion, tasks unlike anyone ever faced. We must be dauntless,  and epiphanies are like a regular occurrence around here, and only a synthetic style can sort it out, or paste it up for further review, in moments and sidelong glances, by reference to the lodestone of a miraculously attached memory of life. I’ll say that.
——My readers are superior, they are relaxed, or trying to relax, with a book in hand in the garden, with that old familiar sun descending, say, late in the afternoon. Reality holds. It is a gift, insisting on relating to the crying crystalline world at your feet.
——There can be no actual happening without a witness. You are alone. Reporters are not available for the past; we are never there. It would be a neat trick to visit there, but one cannot find the garden gate.
——Nor is memory devoted to the past. I said this to my friends. You are a witness to your memories, but they are not at the place, they are in your mind.  Memories are a spectacle complete in themselves. Memory is not a witness. Even though it could be an exact duplicate of what happened, it still is not a witness. Memory does not go lock, stock, and barrel into the past; but it is instant revision. I will tell you what: if the event was pure, and people were just so vivid, memory might be accurate, for memory is an honest broker. It wants a finished product. So if, let’s say, we were all shallow, memory will gloss it over. It might even forget that day. Memory is a truth merchant, what else could it be? It belongs to you first of all.
——I have a source for knowing about memory, alright. I just get serious. Memory is a pal. Hey, I can add to it, and find memories I forgot I had. And as I said before, they are of all one quality, one sort of burnt orange color I think to say, all my memories together fill the same size room. I have noticed I seemingly have the same amount of memories as I always did. How’s that! I said seemingly. Of course I also believe my memories are stored elsewhere, while I am not consulting them, so to speak.  This is the kind of belief you realize you have, if you are honest with yourself, and just casually inquire of yourself.  Okay, on this score I must be just like anyone else.
——Seriously, anything washed in memory has been worked over and put to use to excuse all future behavior. Is it saving you. Memory sustains obscurity, rationalizes things, carries them to a far shore, or to the limit of its own terrains. But if you ask, ” how did I get the things I remember?”,   the answer is not, “just by being there”. No, no, consciousness is waiting, and it has a trapdoor, and is  judgement. More is required to produce any flowers of thought that are going to represent my life. Yes! Things do not get into the past, the one and only past, by having happened and then being insensibly pushed there by a dumb witness simply remembering them, more or less as they actually were. And that is not because memory is unreliable. Memory is not clumsy, it strives to get a handle, put focus on what was only flipped by as a fleeting reality.  You see, perception–that exciting, disappearing thing, and imperious memory–which vouchsafes to make a life, to risk and define a person– they are carving different fortunes.
——Memory is inescapably plunged into debt, and deep meaning.  Participation in a present scene, what is that but . . . the beginnings of a . . . process? I think so, says the dour faced gentleman, a stumbling process.  Oh what a hero is required, for a struggle! Is it a struggle? Is life undefined? Are you not equipped with any powers? It is like in the blink of an eye, the lights go out and come back on, memory is there and is picking up the sound and sights and the scene is reanimated, repeated in thought. It is like someone brought in recording equipment. Thought itself is a damnable repetition. No wonder we like movies.  The smallest event gets a new context entirely, and silly old time marches on, like an affable professor. Or a fiend, in case you are not ready for the results–then time will stalk you!  The dire motive, the blessed purpose, the idle terrain, the still heart at the center. . .  Memory, I am going to persuade you, might rescue you. It has designs on exalting life.
——Without any prompting, and with the assumption that it knows of another world where it can deposit pure meaning, memory acts like is a partner in truth itself. This is why I have found you coy, when I prod you to reveal an inner religion. Truth is a context from nowhere, it is not present at all, has no strict obligation to what actually happens. It sounds laughable, to even say that it would. What actually happens is a blip on the radar of truth. I could go on in this vein, profundity serves me in my house. But–people are different,  some feed on the ephemeral, and clownishly revel. The shifting spectacle of the present is for all, it is always a modern epoch, and it is to truth but raw material. If you are set to deny truth, freedom is given; that will land you in a place . . . too.  Perhaps no memories at all will be your diet . . .
——But for most of us, there is a humble past, we have earned it, right within our own lives.  It is regarded as a totality, even though it is unfinished; and we regard it personally, and variously, randomly, and in pieces. Largely it seems by association with what is happening, do we go there–and that is largely how the deception grows that the present and past are tied to one another, like the past were a kite at the end of a string you are holding tightly. But this is not the story. It didn’t get there by harpooning assaults of what seems to accidentally happen! The apparent passage of time, it convinces you of things, and quietly erects a kind of clothesline, and lessons in narrative, and the suggestion of sustaining chronology.
——I can wonder what is finally there (as if I meant to travel there someday) in the immemorial past which surrounds me in thought.  I can also find out partial things about it. Many books zero in, and avenues in this town suggest I walk . . .  the pier out on the lake is a precipice. It is beckoning–it is made of what is retrievable. We don’t know what is in store for us, but now we know a large part of the story, and we know that it is ours. It is personal, it is the prelude and platform for awareness. Upon which thought doggedly proceeds. This mind of mine is operating, I feel, as a separate aspect of reality altogether.  Tell me I am crazy. Point out to me that these are the wrong words to apply in this kind of a context. Give me some token credit, though, for steering around to the subject of where memories belong, in any rickety hierarchy happening in your crazy patchwork brain. Tricking you into the occasional vanity.
——This will stay as presented.
——An interesting consequence of my line of thinking here, which denies what actually happens in the present any quick entry to the fortunes and vaults and tombs of the past, and which instead sets a task for the thinker to stand alone on a mere platform of experience, and allow associations to insensibly catapult him into regions of the past–good Lord!–an interesting consequence, therefore, obviously, is that there can be things in the past (which is secure) that never happened to any people at all. No reports of them.  But might imagination put them together?  Creation could be quite haphazard.  I mean, is what appears in the world only a window, or a slamming screen door? The wide heavens stand there anyway, bright, blue, ringing, implacable. Or the day goes indoors and it is raining. Life is always in crisis mode. Good Lord, there must be plenty of things, in the big past that we know is already there, that skirted this locality. That is the way it looks, gazing into the bottom of my hourglass.  I don’t circumnavigate very far, so how much do I know? Surely, I mean from my point of view, much of what this real past I speak of consists of are things visited in thought.  A missing realm helps supply it. Things that happen in the present just disappear, unless, as I now have endeavored to rather exhaustively brag, they help the mind of the author create his suggesting text. And that is exactly the ambition here, and my work.