I’m not going to stuff the story of Lib's life into a meta-narrative or over-arching trope (that would be both cynical and flat, since I don’t believe in such things). In fact, I have an ambivalent relationship to narrative in general; in the US narrative is typically conceived of as the "other" of poetry, and I'm fond of poetry. But I do want this work to have a framework – an angle.
I think it has something to do with the time warp that any kind of creative life-writing or memoir involves. It has to do with a dialogue of the past and present – “hello from the future!” And the past people who can’t shut up – whom we are joining – who are as dead as our own childhoods. Since my mother died when I was barely 12 years old, most of my life I’ve imagined her as a rather static image – and part of the appeal of this project was to discover (i.e., assemble) her narrative self. But since I did know her (and her family) some, and since there is some documentary evidence as well as memory, it’s really as much a dialogue with past-me and present-me – or 1930s Lib with 1960s Lib.
Roland Barthes comment, re: the photo of the condemned anarchist assassin, from the 1880s: “He is dead and he is going to die.”
We know the ending, but only of the past.
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