I guess you have to know the rules to break them.
Before I can improvise I have to learn it by heart. I have to recite every line and syllable, play every note, tell that story and commit exactly down to every photographic memory detail. I have to know down to the fiber of my being.
We build our memorials so we won’t forget.
But are we remembering the truth? Or is this our version of the truth? And really doesn’t improvisation come from the heart, or perhaps practical knowledge of experience and intuition.
We say ritualistic words in church but it is the meaning that matters.
We memorize because we want to hold on to something. We say I will remember this moment forever. But in our minds and within our communities new feelings take over, different values and different attachments take hold.
We try to capture a moment in a photograph but the river has run.
I notice I can conjure memories when I am still and not running every moment in my day.
We try to capture a life at the memorial of a loved one but each person there filters the memories through a lifetime of other memories and hopes and dreams. And we laugh and cry.
I recently read my own journal entries from 22 years ago. The words were vivid and true, full of angst and passion, looking back in time. But what struck the most is how life has gone on since then. I must have thought I was capturing those times but the present day bleeds in.
I do notice that my life has repeat phrases or rhymes, variations on a theme. That phrase the more things change the more they stay the same.
But really improvisation is creative use of rules and norms. If you want to commit it to memory, then do it in a way that it retains some flickering of life and not just a carbon copy or empty words.
I have memorized my way home but I don’t want to quit seeing what is along the way. I want to remember his face, voice and touch but it is my heart that will remember best. The best way to memorize is to be present in the moment. We need to see, to listen, to be there so we can at least notice a whisper of truth.
Just be true and honor the memories you have, and be open to others truth. Our lives our the real memorials each day. So keep the light burning even in the darkest hour and laugh over memories whenever you can.