Friday, January 2, 2009

January in Florida

It's an odd thing, and probably not entirely true, but in my memory Decembers here are always the hottest months of winter. Things cool down in September and we usually get some form of "cold" weather in October and November, but it always seems like the temperature just jumps for the sky when we enter the last month.

I remembered this while leaving a movie theater last night, temporarily dazed by what was probably a modest drop in degrees, but one that caught me quite off guard. Coming into the new year, I'll admit to not expecting any real winter weather again until February or March, but it just seems odd that the high point (in temperature) of our cold season seems to come mid-winter.

Haruki Murakami might say that "memory is like fiction, or else it's fiction that is like memory" and I am bound to agree, but it is hard to actually convince yourself that the memories you have are false, and more often than not, I'll stand by the most absurd of ideas, if it is the way I remember it.

I've had conversations with my father about this and they highlight how different we are, in a subtle way. He has a few stories about his memories that must have been fabricated, bits and pieces of reverie, dream, and pure imagination, and he'll admit that things could not have happened that way. His ability to respect what must be true over his own experience is admirable and something I'll never be able to do myself, but perhaps it is something that comes with all the experience he has.

That is a problem I have, no matter where I seem to find myself. Writers like Douglas Coupland, films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seem to teach you that everyone has some interesting tale about themselves to tell, but I, quite often, find myself with nothing to really speak about. Is this the fragility of my memory? Erasing stories of my past before I can ever tell them? Of course that could just be rationalization, because the other situation is that I have nothing interesting to say because I live so uninteresting a life.

Mayhap it's like bowling with my family, when my cousin would say, "Look, these people have been doing this for all their lives and a lot more often than you, they're going to be better." As if I just do not find myself in the right atmosphere to talk about myself often enough to uncover the actual stories that make me who I am.

Some days I fear that writing is just another form of escape, that it is little more than reading a story that's never been read before, and that the only thing that draws me to it is the godlike idea of creation. Those are bad days. For some people they come as a form of external stimuli, the rain outside, breaking a shoelace in the morning, etc, but for me, I find feelings to be tenuous things and maybe it's just another rationalization, but when I am writing, I feel that the days are generally good. And it's odd, because that is such an internal stimulus: Writer's block, even the idea of stories themselves, exist only on a mental level.

So, you go outside in the beginning of this new year, and you've been writing, but you've finished something, and the weather is colder, but that's about the only thing to notify you that the world is changing any. Sometimes it's just hard to tell that time is passing, but you can keep track of that here by the Floridians' paradox: We can't stand the heat most of the year, running from home to car to job, a/c to a/c to a/c, and we complain and bitch about how we'd rather live somewhere else, but it isn't like we can just move anywhere else, because we really can't take the cold either, and you'll find us bundled up in layers when the temperature drops below fifty.

So...Did you get any of that?

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