blog, writing process

An unbroken chain

Linking the past, present and future


What links the past, present and future?

How do we maintain a sense of self, when our bodies constantly change, our memories shift and evolve, and no dissection can reveal a core of selfhood anywhere in the brain?

Without getting into deep philosophical waters, I find myself pondering this question. I look at my novel, started two years ago, and it feels like the work of another hand and brain entirely. Which in a way it is, since I am not the person I was, nor the writer who wrote those words. The ideas belong to a different me.

I know more than I did, but if I were to change all those words it would be like trying to erase the past, retouching an old photograph to be more than it was.

We collect images to hold on to memories, and writers collect their old words. When we look them over they may seem familiar or alien, but they are/were us. Candid, polished, ugly or beautiful, they remind us where we have been and perhaps inspire us to keep moving forward.

It is comforting to examine souvenirs, but eventually we have to put them down and return to now. An artist must forge the next link, create the next work.

Each work helps to make sense of all that has gone before, and shows us how far we have come.

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