Monday, September 04, 2006

Memory and Forgetting.

I was reading about memory - the theories and metaphors - how one can help the other. I was learning about how people forget and people remember - going from one complicated model to the next, totally engrossed - when the phone went.

How must it be to lose your mind? As she spoke it seemed I could hear it unravelling - one plausible confusion leading to another which was much less plausible.

'I thought it was Sunday. I thought it was still four o'clock. Why are you going out? Who is with me now?'

Then the irritation and the anger: 'I should know. Why don't I know? Why can't I remember?'

How often this happens - that the pages in the book seem to come to life. I had just been reading about how neurons degenerate; about how forgetting could be images being overwritten or wearing out: the different theories, models, experiments and machines.

But this is real. All at once I am pulled into the life of someone I know and love and am offering advice and remembering another time - remembering so well that soon I am too choked up to speak at all.

Memory is a dog that won't lie down they say in the Netherlands. It wanders around where it will - untamed and sometimes biting at my heels.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And one trip for the memory dear Clare; I think in your case it's the 4th of September.

Forgive me for my blatancy, but - Happy Birthday!

I hope you had a good one!

And all the best for the coming year and more!

Tue Sept 05, 12:07:00 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Such a poignant piece, Clare. I'm so sorry.

Tue Sept 05, 03:29:00 am  
Blogger Lee said...

And the shame. I've seen that sometimes.

I think you mentioned in an earlier post a book that you're reading about memory, but a cursory search hasn't turned up the reference. Could you let me know the title please? I'd like to read it. Or any other that you'd recommend.

Tue Sept 05, 09:43:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad and distressing to witness. I've waded through a decade of the other kind of dissolution with a parent, and now I can't decide--would I want my mind to go, or my body? Neither, of course, but there's no choosing.

But happy birthday horn toots all the same...

Tue Sept 05, 10:27:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy Brierly said...

A powerful post. Happy Birthday and best wishes in the years coming.

Wed Sept 06, 12:08:00 am  
Blogger Debi said...

So sorry, Clare. You're too choked to speak - but you can and do write. I hope it helps at times like this ...

As for pages coming to life ... hasn't this happened in books you're writing too? I know it has for me. I find it both scary and uplifting. Scary because we can't understand how it's possible and fear the power ... and uplifting because it makes me feel there's an interconnectedness in all things, even if we can't see the how or why.

Wed Sept 06, 01:27:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks much to you all - it is all part of life, I guess...and Debi, yes I am becoming increasingly disturbed between the relationship between fiction and the real life that appens around me. So many coincidences...The next book I am going to try to write is going to be happy, happy, happy...There will be bluebirds, a sun that shines to just the right extent and people skipping over green hills

Thu Sept 07, 11:26:00 pm  

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