July 08, 2002

The Weblog: Transcending Self-indulgence?




The Weblog: Transcending Self-indulgence?

I continue to struggle with the apparent absurdity of the daily weblog; mine, not those that belong to such as have found their topic, their audience, a voice and a purpose. Driven benignly to pour some small portion of my life into a shallow pool of words, I do not quite understand how this trickle can flow into to any kind of sea worth sailing.

I happened on the quote below quite by 'chance'. It comes from an essay on Annie Dillard's autobiography. It is only right that words about her, a Christian mystic who knows her point and place in life, should afford some measure of meaning to this early reader of Tinker Creek so many years ago. She saw the 'tree with the lights in it'. I have seen it too. Here, perhaps, is a portion of the purpose of Fragments from Floyd:

This impulse to tell ones story comes at a time when the end of life is suddenly all too imaginable. All of the past (but especially the years of childhood) becomes an endangered species worthy of memorys protection. The urge to hold on tight takes over with the realizations usually reserved for Forty Something: parents can die, relationships meant to last forever come to an end, and the once invulnerable flesh proves astonishingly frail. At a point one hopes to be no less than halfway through "midway in the journey of our life," according to Dante -- it is time at last to come to oneself.

Shoring up the fragments of the past against the futures ruin (and savoring all the riches that in fact remain), the autobiographer comforts us with the record of a continuous self and a coherent history. Self-indulgence is transcended as one persons memoir becomes an open invitation to remember. It can also be an act of love. For just as we alone among the creatures are given the difficult gift of imagining our own death, we are also uniquely endowed with the ability to tell our stories to one another, to give ourselves away in narrative.

Posted by fred1st at July 8, 2002 07:01 AM
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