At the risk of hauling out the "I" once again (and here I go already) I'm thinking about personal writing, and how filtering the past through the present—whether it's my past or his—inevitably leads to abstracting that past. Even a photograph grows recondite in the sense that, like the proverbial stream, it's impossible to put your eyes on the same spot twice: there's too much shape-shifting going on from last week to yesterday to now. When I write about the past I abstract that past as a painter abstracts her subject. Modern and contemporary visual artists have really nailed down the value, power, and necessity of abstraction as a key value in representing the world in the ways in which we perceive, remember, and name it.
The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real. Lucian Freud