Cormac McCarthy is a writer who takes the reader into the most bizarre and grotesque situations, grabs him and holds him transfixed. His books are literally "can't put them down" adventures. I have been riveted by several of his works.
For some reason I missed The Road when it was released in 2006, but that is okeh because now it is a new adventure for me. I am not reviewing the book here, but rather I am lifting a sentence or two which give me pause. "He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins.
. . .What you alter in the memory has yet a reality, known or not." (p. 111)
I have been operating String Too Short to Tie for nearly six years. Much of the material is drawn from memories of my life past, and of course in the assembling and publishing of that material, new memories are created. McCarthy, in this brief reflection of his protagonist, has caused me to reflect on the questions, "What violence have I done to the past, to the origins of those memories by my recalling them, by recording them? And how much warping of reality have I engendered? Or have I, in fact, created new realities thereby?"
I wonder if other writers reflect on these questions as they are relating the tales they remember or create. What of the historian?
I have thought on occasion about the players that appear on the stage of my memory. Do those actors exist in our shared reality; or do they exist only in the reality created by my mind? Do they still exist? I have thought, for example, of certain individuals who played a role in a scene of my early life, recalling clearly (to my way of thinking) the incident and the behaviors of the participants, yet my mind may be completely void of any recollection of a name to attach to one of these players.
Why is that surprising? There is a chance that, were I to be introduced to you today, I would not remember your name tomorrow. Am I revealing too much about the inner workings of my mind? Indeed I am.