Lately, I’ve had the good fortune to stumble upon old friends and other memories. These are perhaps the friends that I did not know I was missing. And suddenly being with them has stirred up a lot of memories and feelings. The memories are not just part of shared experiences from the past. Sometimes, it would be things from further back in my life. I can share some examples…
Last night, I was listening to a funny story that a girl was telling about how she met Griffin Dunne, who was in the movie After Hours, a Martin Scorsese film from 1985. It was such a rare moment to hear someone say how this was their favorite movie of all time, because I’m sure this was also my favorite movie for many years. Only now, as I write this, I recall even where and when I first saw this movie. I was in high school and I had just been stood up on a date, so I wandered into an art house movie theater. I remember thinking that even though I was feeling miserable about my evening, it didn’t compare to the kind of problems the main character (played by Dunne) was having.
And yesterday, I was visiting someone in their office and I was suddenly struck with this memory because of the art reprints he had on his wall. We switched from talking about work and I quietly drifted into talking about John Singer Sargent, whose paintings were on display on his walls. One of these is the well-known Madame X painting. I remember seeing this painting and many others in person at a Sargent exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC about 10 years ago. That was also around the last year of my mother’s life and I took her to this exhibit. She enjoyed it and it’s one of those memories that comes back once in a while.
Even further back in my life, I recall when I first become entranced by the Madame X painting. I think it was on the cover of the book Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. This was one of my favorite books and I can remember the richness of imagery in his writing.
I think there is some meaning to all of this. These memories are coming back to me at a time when I am searching my own thoughts and writing them down. I think that revisiting my past will be an essential part of this writing experiment, and I hope that good fortune will continue to bring memories back to me.