MEMORIES OF A TIME: “IS WHAT’S PAST, PAST?”

“What we call the beginning is often the end / And to make an end is to make a beginning.  / The end is where we start from.”  –T. S. Eliot

“The past is never dead.  In fact it’s not even past.”  –William Faulkner

“…these statements express the realization that we can never access the body of the past, the physical experience that people now dead once felt in the very fiber of their bodies.  But we can also nevernot want to access that past, to think, imagine, and write our way back to an imagination of what those bodies must have felt [Walt Whitman’s referring to the Civil War dead].  Often our own past feels this way, too–we recall feeling pain or horror or terror, but it is difficult to ‘get it in the books,’  to write it so that others can experience in their bodies what we felt in ours (or so that we can once again feel what we know we once felt).  Writers often experience most keenly this notion that ‘the past is never dead’ and that we are always starting at the end.’”  [IWP © The University of Iowa 2012-2016]

MEMORIESOFATIME  are often written about past events which caused the writer to feel intensely and deeply and physically, then described in such a way emphasizing what the body felt–words being used to bring a dead past alive.

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”  –Corrie Ten Boom

“Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.”  –Percy Bysshe Shelley

“There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present.”  ….  “Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” –James Joyce

“We can’t let the past be forgotten.”  –George Takei

“The destruction of the past is perhaps the greatest of all crimes.”  –Simone Weil

© James F. O’Neil 2016 

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5 comments
  1. Hi James,

    Please, excuse my not coming earlier to read and comment on your blog (the loss is mine too, I know…), but I’ve been –and still am– waaay over my head with time-consuming commitments. And, I certainly agree with the above quotes, and most of all with Faulkner stating that that the past –well, it’s not exactly past.

    Just wanted to give a heads up for a very interesting MOOC I’m currently participating in: it’s The Ancient Greek Hero with Harvard’s Prof. Nagy on edx.org. In fact, it’s the second time I’m taking the course: I already got a certificate, so this time around is just for the delight of it & for taking a deeper dive in a number of relevant topics. You may find it interesting, and there’s still time to register for it.

    Greetings from Athens, Greece!

  2. some say time doesn’t exist 😄

  3. yudithc said:

    And Walt Whitman continues… to inspire. 🙂

  4. For me, the past made me what I am today, but the real past that matters started the day Hubby and I met in 1989.

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