“The thing that turns what Mann calls a litterateur—that’s a person who writes for a New York magazine, say—into a poet or an artist, a person who can give humanity the images to help it live, is that the artist recognizes the imperfections around him with compassion.”
I’ve been reading Joseph Campbell’s Pathways to Bliss and it’s making me reevaluate my own mythology. It feels terribly meta to be continually reflecting and trying to place my current position into a larger thread but I can’t seem to help it.
Seattle has gotten hot and will be getting hotter in the next few days, and after dinner the sunset pulled me out of the house and onto the street. I can’t quite see it from beneath as well as I can from my own window, but I walked towards the glow, and then later went for a long walk around Greenlake with my housemate. Is this a night I will remember years from now? I forget so much daily, and I know that forgetting is an essential part of life- if we remembered every face and every detail we would be entirely unable to function in the world. But what about the things that are so Important Now? They slip as well. Journals are useful, and there are some reoccurring themes (mythology?) throughout my old pages, but I keep finding things I thought so grand and important coming flooding back but not of their own accord. It takes a prod, it takes a jolt—some sort of cue. Without that they have utterly slipped away.
The fear of forgetting is what drives me to read and re-read mythology. I want to learn the stories and retell them, but I’m awful at remembering names and details. It somehow seems if I can remember the stories, I’ll be remembered myself. I think, also, that I’ve written about this before on here, but I’m not going to check back through old posts to find out. Opened with a quote, so I will close with another Campbell quote that explains why:
“My notion about myself was that I had grown up during that time, that my ideas had changed, and, too, that I had progressed. But when I brought these papers together, they were all saying essentially the same thing—over a span of decades. I had found out something about the thing that was moving me.”