Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Braided Rug theory

I started my “Guided Search” thread using as a basis a paper written for an Earlham School of Religion course in 1980. I wrote another paper for a second course dealing with Old Testament studies. The paper was entitled “In the Beginning: There were many beginnings.” As I reflected on starting a series of posts based on “A Guided Search” as somewhat of a memoir, I recognized that I would be leaving out a large portion of what I really feel a need to record. Recalling “In the Beginning” I realized that it might be appropriate to take some of the ideas behind that paper and apply them to a second thread of my “memoirs.”
As I spent some sleepless time last night, a relatively frequent middle of the night occurrence, my thoughts went to a metaphor, analogy, picture, or “whatever” to use as a gathering point for my memories. The image of a tapestry has been used to portray the entwining threads that are quite distinct but become a beautiful whole. I have used this image in the past to illustrate my concept of a community, school, or Meeting uniting people who retain their individual diversity into a beautiful unity. I also thought of a quilt as putting together various pieces into patterns that then are placed in a larger pattern. Both of these images seemed too patterned to fit the way I view my life.
Then an image came to mind that seemed to fit both a “guided search” and “many beginnings,” a braided rag rug. From a collection of strips of cloth, a braid is formed into what appears to be a long rope that is then coiled to form a rug. Some are relatively small like doormats while others are room size, but even the larger ones can be extended by additional braid. Sometimes strips of similar color are placed together to form a length of a unique color while at other times a mixture of color and textures produce a stretch that seems nondescript. Some transitions between sections blend well while at other times there may be a fairly abrupt change in color and appearance. This image seems to fit the way I view my life in retrospect.
There were periods when the direction and “color” of my life seemed very straightforward and uniform with relatively smooth transitions. At other times there were abrupt changes and apparent confusion. As I recall these times and relate them in somewhat of a narrative, I must add some strong advisories. My memory is quite selective. My view of events is clearly biased. I will attempt to be true in my descriptions. However, my perception of the truth may not be the same as another person’s perception of the same events and, as contradictory as it may seem, both perceptions may be true.
My intention is to write what I feel needs to be said and spend at least some time editing the writing. This is a process I do not like. My “style” has been much more of writing my thoughts out, editing as I go, and then leaving the result as the product. This provides a “flow of consciousness” of my thoughts at the time, that is normally my intent, but if I am to synthesize a collection of memories into a whole it would seem that I should utilize some editorial control. Thus the appearance of posts from either the “Guided Search” or “Braided Rug” series may be sporadic, at best. In addition, some posts may fit both categories while others seem incongruous. It is my hope that as I sew the pieces together, the thread I use will be essentially invisible and the end result will be functional, at least for myself.

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