picture book

My best friend explains her experiences with writing a blog thus: “The actual physical exercise of writing – touching letter keys on the laptop – is only that – a physical exercise. The actual writing has been going on in my head for a while already . . . The words are already aligned and ready to spill.” (…) “As it turns out, I don’t remember in scenes, or sights, or smells. I remember in voices and words.”

This made me consider for the first time, how my own memory works. I wish, my brain had words aligned and ready to spill. But in my case, it’s more a sight, a view, an image, that comes up first, I realized.

It was weird, trying to find out. Imagine, you wonder, in which way you remember things. First my mind was blank. How can you remember, how you remember? But then I thought to best think back on something from way back when and take note, in which way the memory emerges. So I thought of my home, when I was a kid. And there they were: pictures. Of my parents, foremost, then my siblings as little ones, then the house, the yard. To each picture, certain emotions are attached, like tags. Even when I think about myself, I’d be part of a picture. I was trying to remember something enjoyable. A picture arose, with a little girl in braids sitting in front of a bookwall, a book on its knees at our school’s library room in second grade. Slightly at an angle, the face isn’t visible, just the act of reading becomes clear. Then another picture gives the information on who the girl is. It’s a mental reproduction of a black and white childhood photograph of myself. The next image is the page of the book itself, a storybook with mostly colourful drawings and little text on it. At this instant I remember, how dissapointed I was that day, because I had chosen this stupid book with next to nothing to read in it. I had finished it during the time span, we were given to choose a book and I wasn’t allowed to get another one for the week. I was angry, I recall. Because with the pictures, the emotion flares up again. Funny, wasn’t I looking for something enjoyable? Obviously I have forgotten every other week in that library room, but this one stuck.

So, what I do here on blog.de is describing pictures. Maybe this explains, why I usually post an image with the text. Just to make sure. Writing this, I recall many a fervent search for an image to match what’s in my head. Which sometimes takes longer than the writing process itself. I should name my blog picture book, maybe. Oddly, for this entry, there is not one image, that comes to my mind. The future has to be illustrated yet…

3 thoughts on “picture book

  1. I think your way of remembering is more the norm. I have never been a visual person – probably because I was born with bad eyesight. We didn’t figure it out until I was 8 or 9 and by then I had already learned to compensate by listening carefully. Hence the voices in my head.

    By the way, you don’t really need the image in this post. You paint the image clearly in words. What I wasn’t sure about was . . .does this photo of you really exist – or is a scene you imagine in your mind?


    1. The photo does exist. I still have it today. My mom had a series of pics of me and my brother taken at the local photographers, when I was appr. 3 years old. I asked her for this one copy to take with me. Seems to be the stand-in brain-image of myself as a kid.


    2. I really can’t fathom the voice form of remembering. With words ok, because this I can think of in visual terms again. But voices would drive me nuts. Thinking about it, I like thinking (the thought-process itself), because it is such a quiet affair. In my case, anyways. And I don’t mean, there’s nothing going on, but everything happens in silence. It is weird, even if I think back on, say a concert, I see the artists, their instruments and remember the emotions, the music evoked, but I can’t actually hear it again. I have to really concentrate, to have the music itself playing in my mind again. And it only works for songs, I know really well, and there only for the refrain lines. Such is the sorry state of my musical memory 🙂


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