Memory can be a teacher, a nemesis, a trickster, a temptress or a shelter from the storm. It can be a microscope or a telescope, a still image or a motion picture. Publishers and readers understand the differences between an autobiography and a memoir – the latter being more of an impressionistic canvas than a photograph. Both can be deceptive and manipulated, and both can demonstrate “Brownian motion” as well as reality.
Memories are the residue of experience, a record of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. Like going home, I would not want to live there, but some memories are worth another visit.
I was always a reader as I came from a family of readers. They passed down to me the books that had been meaningful to them, both classics and those of their contemporaries. It wasn’t until my early ‘teens’ that I became aware of the art, music, and writing of my own time: Pollack and deKooning, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, J.D. Salinger…and Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD.
Kerouac’s rambling and rambunctious narrative was fresh air, my first beer, my first kiss. It was speaking the way I was thinking, his open road opening my eyes and mind. I read On The Road straight through without a sense of my own time and space, only Kerouac’s. Looking back now, it was writing both of its time and timeless. It was more than 50 years ago that I read On The Road, and even though I’m far removed from that 14-year-old whose voice had yet to change, it is as fresh as this morning, and inspires me again.
What I do remember are the people I met, the people I laughed with, and the people that made each day worthwhile. I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting thousands of incredibly creative, and generous souls who have touched my heart and made me laugh for the duration of my career. Now I wish to thank each of you, personally, through what I am calling My Gratitude Trip. Life is short, and we forget to say thank you to people who have crossed our paths. I am driving through Canada and the United States to visit each and every person, natural wonders and some of North America’s iconic destinations.