I was doing a little research for a project that I am working on and came across an interview by Stef Penney on Tana French. I’ve never heard of Penney, but, as you should know, I am a huge fan of Ms. French, so I read the interview and pulled this quote. She was discussing her first two books and said that they both shared the same thing:
“the relationship between past and present – how to balance the two without destroying either”
I feel like that is kind of an interesting thought. Isn’t that what we strive for in our day-to-day lives?
As individuals, we are constantly changing; I am quite different today than I was a year ago, and even more different than I was five years from that. If I look beyond that – to the shy high school girl who pushed herself into drama club despite having a fear of public speaking (think solo singing auditions), to the younger girl who spent one summer in a non-stop-reading-haze amongst strewn pillows in a remote corner of the living-room, to the girl who used to write joint plays with her brother, the girl who would spend hours in one spot when she first learned she could draw, trying to make the perfect line (I once erased so much that I made a hole in the paper), to everything in-between – that girl seems hardly recognizable at times. I know I did all those things, and if I really think hard, I can vaguely remember doing them, but they don’t feel familiar anymore.
When I look at pictures of my childhood bedrooms, they seem a bit foreign to me. I try to place them into my mind, mentally walking around the room, placing familiar people in there, familiar objects, touching objects that were captured in the picture, gently brushing fingertips on surface-tops. For a place that was once my own space, I’m surprised at the detachment of it all.
A lot of things have changed about me, but some have stayed the same. As a child, the foot of my bed was covered in rows and rows of stuffed animals that would sleep on the bed with me, because really, there were too many to take on-and-off every night. Now, my bed is covered in throw-pillows, which spend the evenings on the floor (except for the one stuffed animal that lies on my bed that I’ve had since I was four). I do still read, and can become engrossed in a story, but not to that extreme extent anywhere near as often. I write occasionally, and instead of acting in plays I go see them. I take out my sketchbook about once every ten years, but I love going to the Met.
When you’re younger, the world around you is much smaller. You can cultivate your talents and interests, but they are only basic; there’s a lot that you don’t find out until you’re older. Then you become influenced by so many things at once that it’s easy to lose the old you, your interests and what you once stood for…but not completely. I feel that, for most of us, no matter how different our lives become, no matter how much we stray from our child-interests, that we keep some of it with us. When we experience internal conflicts, that’s when I feel we are struggling with the past and the present, trying to keep both intact, until we re-adjust and re-balance in order to fit things in.