Archive for October 15th, 2021

Sketches and Rehearsals

GC Myers- Where Memory Rests sm

Where Memory Rests — At the West End Gallery

We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.

There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.

— Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

This is sort of a continuation of yesterday’s questions: Do we know what we should remember? Do we remember what we should know? 

The passages from author Milan Kundera’s great novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being perhaps provide one answer: We can never know.

Life is, as his character puts it, one and done. No rehearsals. No trying out of new material or making revisions.

Life is, indeed, more of a sketch than a final version of a picture. People in the future, if they care to make the effort, cobble together a final portrait of our lives. That doesn’t mean it’s accurate or completely truthful. It can’t be totally either since it is the work of others and their interpretations that are taken from the sketch we leave behind.

It is beyond the control of the subject of these sketches.

And as Kundera points out, we live — or rather, perform— our lives from moment to moment with little or no context on which we can base our performances. We’re often halfway through our performance before we realize that we have the power to improvise, to use what little knowledge we have gained from observing others, to make our performance going forward better and deeper in meaning.

I guess I am trying to say it is advised that we try, at some point, to make a conscious decision about the sort of character we want to play or what sort of sketch we will finish during the remaining time of our arc of existence here on this planet.

Live with intention.

I know that, for myself, my performance and my sketch has changed in many ways since I realized that doing so was the only true control I had over the arc of my life. I could choose my reactions during my performances so that they didn’t have the same mistakes made in past rehearsals. Or that I could choose how I marked the surface with my sketches, the intensity of the lines and how much of myself I would share.

I think doing so has my rehearsals and sketches better. At least, I like them more now. How they play in the future, how others will critique them, is not for me to say. Or know.

Damn it– my coffee’s cold again! I guess I will have to pay more attention in tomorrow’s rehearsal…

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