15 Friday Aug 2014
A stranger contacted me this week. She found meaning in the following piece of writing. I, as the author, was thrilled. It was written in 2007.
Here is an except.
The creation of memory is one of those mysteries. Why does the mind-body register some sounds, words, images as internal data, while other material is washed away? Perhaps inside us there is a part of the personality that serves as the inner scribe. This part may be partial to some information and perhaps, as data is recorded, makes mistakes: forgetting to erase what is useless information and erasing that which is needed for tasks. The scribe may also over attend to traumatic material. We can also make suggestions to our memory recorder to focus on something important to us, our central Self.
At an art show a woman came to my booth. Mixed in with my paintings was a photograph of a cactus flower. I had recently been to the desert, for the first time and the desert was in bloom. This became my memory of Tucson AZ; waxy cactus flowers on the top of high and low tall green cactus. The woman stopping by the booth had lived in Arizona for several years and never saw one flower, other than cultivated gardens. Her memory of the desert was different from min. Her image was of barren plants, mine was of blossoms. She had stopped by to look at art, she shared her memories and I shared mine. She was a stranger but we made a moment of connection. Her memories enhanced my experience of the desert as much as my photographs delighted her.
In a writing class a women wrote these words; “It is you who taught me what the color of green grass tastes like.” For some reason that line resonated with the part of me that never forgets. Years later I reminded the writer of the sentence she had so long ago crafted and she had completely forgotten it, nor did she have any idea what it meant. Since it had no meaning for her she gave me the gift of the green grass sentence to use as my own. Odd that she wrote it and forgot it. I heard it and remembered. The inner scribe had stored it away and now had permission to use it. With everything I write she tries to fit it in but it doesn’t fit because it really isn’t ours.
I am amazed at what the creative mind remembers. It speaks its secrets in dreams, spontaneous images and hidden treasures. I cannot remember the number for my ATM card but I can remember my grandmother’s phone number from 1049; 2305R. The phone number carefully stored in my memory waiting for the day when I can call my Nana again.
In my memory bank is an image of an old woman in a purple hat, a long red feather and a juicy smile. A stranger leaving for Mexico on a train. She told me she was 93. Amazed by her zest for life, I never forgot her. She handed me a book of poetry, she had just finished reading. I still pull out those poems, a gift from a stranger in a passing moment.
My dad made pancakes on Sunday mornings. I remember the warm sweet smell amidst the clanking of pans. I was twelve and I knew he would die one day. I wanted to remember him making pancakes and happily humming a medley of tunes. I deliberately filed away this self selected memory which I can recall when I want to remember my dad. Maybe I am really calling the inner scribe to show me her image, which she holds for me.