On the bus back from Denver to Boulder Colorado as dusk falls over the distant Rockies, I’m reading Michael Sandel’s ‘Justice’. He quotes Alasdair MacIntyre: ‘We live our lives as narrative quests.’ “I can only answer the question ‘what am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’
In California and now in Colorado I am meeting with activists and artists who are supporting older people to be both the chroniclers and actors of their own lives: the artist as witness, as advocate as co-conspirator. Whether in the delicate and detailed work of Making Memories Matter in Denver, the multiple creative activities and interventions of EngAge in Los Angeles, or the structured professional workshops of StageBridge in Oakland there is this continual weaving of past and present. ‘How can what I do now make sense of my life as a whole?’ In the Burbank Artists Colony where I helped facilitate a story telling session for EngAge managers Vanessa Martin told me the story of Gadalupe. It ends with the exclamation: “I’ve never felt so alive in my life”.