Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.
People Who Contributed to Dear Memories
The word nostalgia was invented long ago, of course, but it may particularly mean a lot to all ex-immigrants who also happen to be of the baby-boomers generation -- myself fitting in both categories.
So many people, so many places staying back there that turned into many dear memories. As we grow older, our long term memory tends to go overactive, while we may go to another room in our home and not remember why we came there.
Well, this second part I have not reached yet, but it's true that many of those far away events seem like they happened as recently as yesterday.
Somehow, blending with all those distant times of life are certain experiences with friendly people of more recent dates, but looking finite due to slim chances of being repeated.
Names like Camillo, Boris, Ivan, Paul, Florian.. and so many others come to mind, in a list that makes me wonder about transitory nature of friendships that looked so promising at their time, only to turn temporary. Indeed, what am I supposed to do with all their files in the archive of my mind, containing even so many of those closely confided secrets? Is it all supposed to be merely added to the rest of the memory junk, like my previous telephone numbers?
There is one cherished exception that I have to mention. It's my friend Susana, a professional psychoanalyst born and living in Buenos Aires. We started as pen pals at age of 15; then we stopped when I went to do my military service in ex-Yugoslavia.
Fifty years passed until one day I got this idea to try using that same address which I still knew by heart. As it turned out, her mother in her early 90's still lived there with her maid, and she let Susana know about the arrival of my little greeting card.
That happened about ten years ago, and ever since we renewed our friendship, which we jokingly call "virtual", as we never met, and probably never will, but resolute to stay friends until we die "and after".
A number of times we had our intellectual arguments over diagnostic and treatment procedures in psychotherapy, and alike issues, and her Latino temperament would bring into question our very friendship -- but then friendly hearts would step in and we would have a laugh over the whole thing.
Out of endearment either of us would mention how quite a novel could be written about our friendship, which reached some depths not to be found in friendships that I had with people that I knew in person for years. I am certainly delighted that our friendship has not turned into one of those many temporary ones.
But that's an isolated case, and quite different from my other "virtual" friends from this Hub Pages website, no matter how I have grown fond of many of them.
It's Not Them, It's Me
I can't but smile as I am scrolling down the pretty long list of my "fans" at Hub Pages, with just a few of them still leaving a comment under my articles from time to time. I don't fuss about that part, because I am not all that diligent leaving comments, so I don't deserve receiving them either.
I do read other writers' stuff, but what turns me away from leaving comments is an obvious practice going on -- one of reciprocating. -- "I leave one for you, and then you return the favor". Well, that's how writers maintain their socializing, at times looking like their written pieces merely serve as a "medium" for a friendly chat.
I must say it without being mean or anything, that I've seen some flattering comments left under some writers' pieces which didn't deserve to be read to the end, let alone be praised. And I mean some works that a kid with some talent could have made better.
Then some writers will obviously take it for a task to praise one after another almost everything they see on the Feed as recently written. So, when I get a nice comment, how can I know if they really meant what they said in it -- or am I just another on their list to be praised?
Goes without saying, I would so gladly leave my praising comments where some praising is called for -- but not because I like the author as a personality and we are in a routine of making each other feel good with our comments -- rather because they have done an outstanding literary work. Many a famous, even classical writer happened to be an unlikable personality, some downright insane. Geniuses like Franz Kafka, or Hermann Hesse come to mind, to mention just these two -- while their works scoop deep into reader's humanness.
There is another reason why all those "fans" stopped being that. Smilingly, I explain it to myself with a little self-mocking that goes like this: "Well, Val, you old fart, they were your fans before they got to know you better".
My overly liberated big mouth must have turned many an initially friendly soul away. With my niche being about neglected human potential (a very rough definition), some of my written stuff might have inspired a little -- but more often than that, merely reminded people of their "lazy minds" and some neglected flaws.
Besides, when it's about human nature, I say it as it is, not beating around the bush. After a shitload of non-fiction books on some half dozen different approaches to human nature, thousands of hours of sinking into my own imperfect intimate truth during my meditations, and all that taming of the animalistic nature of ego in self-discipline -- the nakedness of human mind and heart is as ordinary to me as nakedness of body is to a gynecologist.
I don't go critical, just objective, and yet, people don't like that. Everybody loves to stay hidden in their little self-created bubble of their comfort zone and their social self-image, conveniently selective to display only those better, more presentable features. While it's not either "bad" or "good" per se -- that's simply the way it is -- period. It's human, and that aspect of humanness simply doesn't seem to work for my keeping friends.
Moreover, as I was sharing about some of my own achievements on the path of that spiritual self-evolving, it must have sounded as sheer bragging. Well, in this world where others are viewed through the prism of competition -- it's like I am playing a "superiority" card or something.
Comical, isn't it? But that's how goes my story of temporary friendships.
Am I complaining here? Of course, not. Being an individualist of my own make, I'm not one bit normative about other people's tastes in picking friends, or their personal choices in general. Individual differences are the force that's making this world turn. Just stating what I observe, without having an attitude about it.
So, here I got inspired to add to my theme a little poem-like creation, with some nostalgic overtones, for -- yes, it's all about nostalgia, because we have to be grateful for even those brief moments of being accepted as a friend by others.
Friendships in the Mist of Memories
In my mind's museum with gallery of faces
many are smiling so friendly and so dear
coming from different times and places
now looking so distant -- yet so near.
By the will of a strange and whimsical fate
somehow they were not meant to stay
leaving their trace in heart so great
after just abruptly fading away.
It's like other good things in our life
slipping through our fingers like sand
while in clenched fist we hold on to strife
something hard to even start to understand.
If it is true we reap in life whatever we sow
maybe we stop deserving what we cherish
but then it becomes much easier to know
why flowers in vase are doomed to perish.
Because if left alone and just admired from afar
they would stay nourished by the love of soil
but our life decoration -- not what they are
so it's what friendship manages to spoil.
To many of them I would say good-bye
but memories keep them present in time
so I am letting it all be, with just a little sigh
and as a tribute to them all, writing this rhyme.
© 2021 Val Karas