Memories–Singular & Collective: Strange. The word memory contains many levels. Not all memories are from our own experience, for example. Never mind for the moment memories embedded in DNA &/or social institutions. We also remember facts we’ve learned, like that on this date (many years ago, not 2020) Virginia Alice Richardson was born, in Reno, Nevada. I’d bet she was only called that on the paperwork, however, except for rare. ceremonial occasions. She’d have been “little Ginny“at the time.
Though I’d not be born until the next December, north of Boston, I still remember the fact & can even imagine some of the experience, almost as if I’d been there, an astral spirit observing from above, seeing her snuggled in her mother’s arms, & in the nursery with her soon-to-be Plumb Lane neighbor & lifelong friend, Kitty Houghton, already a few days old….
The membrane between memory & imagination is porous, no line at all, really, just a slight shift in way of looking or framing what’s ‘seen.’ This can be so even when our own intense experience has been directly involved, as in “imagining/ remembering” our own infancy. Impressions of experience remain, however deeply below or within the fact memory.
So, too, the impressions of a life, a love, a person with whom shared experience has deeply layered across time, place & circumstance, including a spiral of memorable birthdays! Our first “date” as a couple happened on my 21st, turning the date to an anniversary. And on her 60th, how we celebrated the full moon all night long in the heart of the dunes at White Sands! Some memories alright. (“Better not get me started.”)
Too late. It is Memorial Day Week-end, after all, a holiday celebrated on at least two levels, personal & collective, both levels with the same focus, remembering those no longer here, who gave their all, in one sense or another, with, for &/or to us–a time when the factual memory is just the beginning, our attention tuned by our collective appreciation, along with our love, the felt bonds of our personal connection.
In honor of little Ginny’s birthday, then, new found VRB writings will start getting put up on a brand new page, “Up 6/2020,” adding contributions at least through to the solstice….. The writings themselves come across time, often (but not always) dated. They are unique, unlike anything I’ve read or known before–except from her. Even ones she might have shared read as if for the first time, fresh & surprising.
They’re not all what she might have considered “finished,” many becoming parts of works-in-progress, stored in lively folders, while the life-in-progress kept generating her new responses. Some folders even hold finished collections, sometimes the copy of an original given as a gift. She did not write for publication, or with that in mind, let alone the idea of either career or recognition.
She did write to share, however, as well as to explore, experiment, reflect, & practice a loved art–at once for its own sake, for her own (its effects on state, feeling & attitude), & for life (e.g., sharing with others). She loved poetry as she loved music, dance, drawing & painting–& still, she loved life, people, other creatures & nature more. She studied piano & hula as a girl, then drama & modern dance; yoga, batik & dance in India; autoharp & sketch-book. All of these flowed into her writing in one way or another–simply because all flowed into her life, as lived & shared.
None of these were “professions” to her, reminding us that the ama in amateur refers to the love such a practice may be done for. In her two professional trainings (which she often practiced together), natural science (the living world) & teaching (individual beings-in=progress), she also acted from love–starting with respect, growing with appreciation, enjoyment, curiosity, wonder, mutual encouragement….
Her main teaching, whether professional or personal, was always by example, most notably in qualities of relation, how one approaches & relates to what’s studied & practiced, whether between student & subject, people in the class, or people & environment (natural & social). She brought the same qualities to her poetry, whether in what she had to say, how she said it, or feeling of the music. Yet each folder seems to have its own quality.