I make lists. I’m soothed, in particular, by the kind where you eventually get to cross things out or check them off. But I make other kinds of lists, too. Lists are containers; they are maps, taxonomies, blueprints. As a kid, I listed ways to make money, things I wanted to have when I grew up, things I needed to pack for vacation, boys I liked, books I liked, songs I liked.
I like writing that’s based on lists. I liked the litanies we said in church when I was a kid—Heart of Jesus, Lamb of God, pray for us. Nowadays I often used list-based writing in teaching.
I am waiting for my case to come up and I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder and I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail and I am waiting for the discovery of a new symbolic western frontier and I am waiting for the American Eagle to really spread its wings and straighten up and fly right…Continue reading A Taxonomy of Couches: Listmaking in Writing and Life
Note: This post is a continuation of the last, which began with musings on memory 1-10.
Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred. – Walter Benjamin
11. There is a branch of sociology (and other disciplines) called memory studies. (I am so happy about this.) It investigates things like the ways memory impacts culture and the role memory plays in collective and individual identity.
12. This makes me think of how tremendously satisfying it can feel to remember together, how it can forge and strengthen connections with others.
14. One of the seven types of forgetting, repressive erasure, refers to the forced forgetting of language and customs by which a government or state may seek to control a people. Forgetting as a form of violence.
Memory has been on my mind. As I’ve mentioned in this blog, The Saltwater Twin contains some elements of memoir. Working on this book has meant hours spent in my brain’s attic, rummaging through memories, emerging powdery and hoarse with dust.
Actually, that’s not the way memory works. Turns out, it’s not even a good metaphor for how it works. A memory isn’t like a letter or a photograph. It doesn’t live in one place in our brain. A memory is a pathway, it links sensory and emotional data stored in different parts of our cerebral cortex and limbic system. This is my understanding, anyway, after the twelve or so articles and one podcast I recently turned to in an attempt to get acquainted with memory. Neuroscience is like space. It’s fascinating, hard to wrap my head around and more than a little disconcerting.