Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random eyes

Memory, the intangible thing that is memory, has fascinated me for years.  The universal and yet entirely personal nature of it.  Mostly, we all have it in some form, but for each of us it's very, very different.  So much so that often our shared memories are unrecognizable.  Were I a psychologist that is the area I would research. 

Penelope Lively wrote that our memories (in this instance those of childhood) float untethered (by time), are 'recalcitrant'.   Chris Marker indicated that his filmic or photographic images acted as substitutes for his memory, becoming it.  William Boyd noted that 'our memories will play us false about our past' asserting that only our journals can be the real 'witness' through the passage of time.   The Witness.  Our recording devices.  Boyd also remarks how on reading his journals he didn't recognize the individuals he was.   Lively documents to an extent the struggle to reconcile the photograph with her memory.

Where is it located?  I could research it and find out, although vaguely remember doing that before. Somewhere long ago in my past... a memory exists of studying body language.   Long term memory recall - eyes top right?  Or is it eyes top left?  Why would our eyes move?  Are they attached by cords to the memories in the filing cabinets of our mind - do we re-see those things we are trying to access?  Through pictures or words?  But why in the top right (or left)?   Why not straight back?  We'd look odd it's true (our eyes really in the back of our heads - only the whites showing to anyone watching while we search for the memory - at least the watcher would know what we are doing) but that surely isn't the only reason.

Are our eyes acting like telephonists of the past - they always amazed me - how did they know which plug to link to which socket within that jungle of wires in order for the correct people to converse?  Do our eyes 'plug in'?

Recently I went to a jumble sale with my Mum (it threw us way back in time - are jumble sales back in vogue?) everything was 10 or 20 pence.  We found a crimplene housecoat - I wish now that I'd got it but having worn the fabric as a child I eschewed it at the sale, which is odd given the stuff that has made its way into my home.  Sue told me that it never frayed and was perfect for making into tiny doll's clothes.  Do I remember doing that or has her telling me created a false memory...

Some words are just so redolent of other times.  Crimplene is one.