Monuments…

My wedding anniversary approaches. In a matter of days, my wife and I will have been married for  thirty-seven years. We will have lived together for between thirty-eight and forty years by then (I don’t recall precisely when we began “living in sin,” but it was quite some time before we agreed to allow the state to sanctify our commitment). The fact that I do not recall the year we moved in together is testament to the fact that we viewed intimacy from a more casual perspective than our parents (and, by the way, many of our contemporaries and their children and grandchildren); not an earth-shaking adjustment to relationships but, rather, an easy comfort that grew out of familiarity. Our celebration of the event will conclude with dinner at one of the newest and most upscale restaurants in Hot Springs, Arkansas, The Avenue. The Avenue, located inside the the Waters Hotel (formerly the Thompson Building) recently  opened after an extensive renovation to the property.

We will commence the celebration with a trip, tomorrow morning, to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. An exhibit I’ve wanted to see at the museum, Border Cantos, is ending soon, so we decided we ought to hurry and see it before it goes. On Wednesday, on the way back home, we’ll make a brief detour, stopping outside Winslow, Arkansas to visit a friend and former employee who just bought five acres in the country; she opted to abandon Dallas for the wide open spaces.

It occurs to me that we build monuments in our minds to the experiences we’ve lived through, like our wedding and our thirty-seven years of marriage. But we (i.e., people, “we the people”) also build monuments to experiences we should have had, and would have had if we’d taken the opportunities presented to us. That idea just sprang into my head as I was writing this; it’s too abstract and only tangentially related to what I’m writing here to warrant a more extensive exploration at this moment. But it’s sufficiently intriguing that I wanted to get it down “on paper” so I can attempt to recapture it some time in the future. While I’m writing, though, let me consider this: is it possible (or likely) that our memories are shaped as much by wishes as by experience? Do we recall what we wish we’d experienced, rather than what actually happened? The answer, of course, is “yes.” Not always, but sometimes. If that’s the case, then how can we differentiate between accurate memories and memories bent and shaped by desire or, conversely, distaste? I think this train of thought belongs in the fiction I write; and one day it will be so.

This has been a stream of consciousness message, brought to you by coffee, insomnia, over-thinking, and genuine daydreaming.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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