Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fragmentations

I am barraged almost daily by these fragments: of images, sounds, movements, smells. They come at me without warning. I cannot tell what will bring them to me, but they come. They come gentle and hard. They sometimes shock me awake as I'm falling into sleep. They almost never calm me. We call them memories, and we repeat them every day, but we do not see them as their whole.

Geof Huth, Found and Asemic Object Pwoermd (1 April 2017)
We see only fragments. A memory, properly, would be all a person would have experienced: one single memory. If the mind could hold onto its inputs that well. But our memories are tiny slivers of an event, not even the entire event. As a child, jumping fully clothed into a pool. Then hiding behind the wheel of a car. Little more. Barely enough sinew in the memory to hold the fragments together.

We believe, for reasons I don't understand, in completeness and wholeness and the value of great size over smallness. But we only dabble in wholeness and breadth. Our life is that set of tiny fragments we keep secured in our head after most of the rest has eroded away. We don't recall an entire movie; we remember part of a scene, a particular shot, a microscopic change of expression. We don't live in Fahrenheit 451, so we have not remembered every word of it or every scene told within it. We remember a sentence maybe, or a phrase, or the idea of a fireman as one who pours fire, instead of water, onto something. The fragments are what hold us aloft, direct us forward, keep us pointed straight.

That's why the small is something most precious to us: because we can hold it all, we can understand it all, we can grasp its meaning. I write pwoermds because I accept the value of fragments and because it is easier to start with a fragment--a word isolated from any other word, a word all on its own--and think deeply into its possible meaning even than it is to read the shortest of stories.

And the greatest fragment of all is the fragment of the fragment, the rarest thing: the pwoermd you might remember after having read so many pwoermds and poems and sagas and novels and newspapers. In the end, all that's left is the word.

pw(o'er)md
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