My reason for putting down on paper my memoirs would not be any different from most who write their autobiographies. The fear that with the onset of old age one will begin to forget. So, I now must hurry.
If life can be represented on a cyclorama where all things that have happened in our stay on earth are flashed on like a collage, the best of us would have spectacular and gigantic layouts with brilliant and vibrant colors splashed and splattered like a Pollock canvas while others would be framed in small spaces with less colors…even monochromatic for some. Regardless of the dimensions, strokes and play of colors each person’s layout is a unique composition unto itself, not to be judged by anyone or by any convention. The writing of memoirs is an attempt to preserve this composition, an abstract self-portrait, as it were.
There is a sense of urgency here…a race against the dimming of the light. Remembrance of things past become more difficult as your mental faculties become less able to recapture the lucidity of the images, the resonance of the names, the heat of emotions and the bouquet of tender moments. The first few things that go into oblivion are names and faces, then trivial slices of life and later on wholesale deletion of events and finally, in senility, all that is left is a blinding white cyclorama. Realizing that I am at the early stages of wear out and, that, faces and names quickly go, I tried to create a list of names of people I have ever encountered. Names are wonderful aide memoires. They trigger off a wide gamut of emotions ranging from love, respect and affection to loathing and disgust. Names evoke exciting times, fearsome events, loving moments and humorous encounters. My life story is Anyman’s. It does not have much drama, pathos and cannot account for heroic deeds and achievements of epic proportions that would be of interest to most…but no matter it is my story.
A measure of a full life would be in how motley the wayfarers’ crowd was who have traveled the same path at some time in one’s sojourn. There were some who strode with me briefly, and others much longer. Although parting at some junction to go to separate destinations, the chance encounters have made the journey much more interesting and enjoyable in some.
I have enjoyed the long strides taken with distinguished men as much as I did tramping along with common pedestrians and drifters.