Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Crystal Clear Memories

A client once told me that I had “a photogenic memory”. This declaration was made funnier by the fact that she was totally unaware of her slip of the tongue. I do possess, I suppose, I bit of a photographic memory, which makes me a bit wary of the things I choose to watch or read. For instance, gossipy television shows can be a nightmare. Who wants to remember the hangdog hearthrob some obscure starlet was pining over months, even years, after the fact? Old bank account numbers, old phone numbers, long discontinued fabric patterns and paint colours... these are rooted in my head like English Ivy, despite my fervent wish that they vacate to make room for higher cogitation. But memory is one thing impossible for me to harness with any degree of success. Indeed, I often ponder the crystal clear memories I have of places that do not exist at all. Let me explain.

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of a much longed for holiday is found in the anticipation before the fact. Given my ardent love of houses, where we choose to stay is a seriously vital part of any trip we plan. The time I spend reading and considering the history, the location and decor, of a particular country house or inn is incredibly fun. When I finally light on my choice, and make my reservation, I can “see” the place in my head... down to the last detail of the bouillon fringe on a curtain pelmet or the muted pattern in an inherited Aubusson. I can follow the path of the early morning light as it falls through the diamond patterned windows in my bedroom, see the delicate blush on the loosely arranged garden roses in the blue majolica vase atop the piecrust table - I can hear the tune the wind plays as it breezes through the ancient elms that line the winding drive. The only thing is... these enchanted places do not exist. They are figments, technicolour and photographically detailed to be sure, but pure imaginings created in the paisley patterned maze of my own mind.

Happily, when the anticipation is over and the date of my departure finally rolls around, I arrive at these longed for destinations to find that their realities rarely pale in comparison to my dreamed up versions. I am always quite happy with what I find existing here in the real world. But, funnily enough, my conjured rooms and hallways, my imagined gardens and green-tinged aspects, still remain; vividly so. I can call them to mind at will, even now, like the faces of old friends. This causes me to wonder if, someday, on some other side of a veil, I might, just perhaps, visit one of these places. Perchance, I may one day stroll over a pink-hued hill and gaze down upon a familiar view. It is possible that I may enter through an oft-seen stone archway, climb a well-remembered stair and follow a known hallway into a room I call my very own. And I just might stay awhile. Who knows?

I shut my eyes in order to see.
Paul Gauguin

36 comments:

  1. The imagination is so real isn't it? Sometimes realer than reality.

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  2. I love the view from your imagination :)

    Anticipation is part of the joy in life isn't it?

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  3. I also do research when choosing a place to stay. I find that some look better on-line and others turn out to be much prettier when I arrive. My Hubby is amazed at how I can picture the finished result when re-doing a room. He's always saying...I don't know..
    to which I reply just wait...
    it will be beautiful. He always agrees at the end result!

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  4. Nothing is so wonderful and precious as a vivid imagination! I spend hours redecorating each room in my house, in my head... sigh...

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  5. I do almost all of my redecorating in my imagination, since my bank account never wants to play along! This was a fantastic post! ~Lori

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  6. Well, you know i could handle a memory like that, actually. Mine is more like a sieve!

    I've got imagination down though.

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  7. The mind's eye is a powerful thing. How lovely that you shared yours with us.

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  8. Pamela, coming to your blog is like a long cold drink on a hot thirsty day. You have so lovingly and carefully crafted such beauty and serenity here. Memories mingle with images of surpassing loveliness. Bless you!

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  9. I like the reproductions you use as headers for your posts.

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  10. The anticipation is the beginning of the journey and so often the most exciting feature. The imagination is a wonderful friend and never disappoints - unlike the reality we live in. Keep dreaming Pamela, xv.

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  11. The mind is a wonderful thing.

    I, too, can create pictures in my mind --

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  12. Yes I know what you mean. I do that if we rent a cottage. I can picture the layout and views.

    I have this landscape in my head when I write. Gradually I am populating it with the people and their stories. When I dream though, I am back in the landscape of my childhood.

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  13. Great post..!
    I also have a very vivid imagination and it gives me great pleasure...thankds for sharing..:)

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  14. Hello P&E,

    Really enjoyed your last two posts. I'm also glad that your imagined places do not 'spoil' you when the real thing is in view. I often find that reality is a pale shadow of our imaginings!

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  15. Beautiful Pamela- the anticipation can sometimes be the better part of the trip. But I certainly enjoy the arrival.

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  16. Interesting post Pamela. I know what you mean about the imagination conjuring up such images.
    One problem I have is that if I indulge in too much music making (I am a keyboard player) the tunes go round and round in my head and I cannot shake them off.
    I too think that the anticipation of holiday destinations is every bit as exciting as getting there - we have just booked our holiday and I am already reading about the places and making notes, and we don't go until April.

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  17. How lovely to enjoy two holidays - the imagined and the real one too.

    I used to be afraid of imagining things in advance in case the reality was less than rosy. But I find more and more that the better I imagine things ahead, the better the reality is too!

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  18. The Gauguin quote and your writing remind me of Derrida's "Memoirs of the Blind" .... in the inablility to turn it off must be taxing...albeit your writing radiates from it.

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  19. Beautiful post. Like mind magic. You make me think, I need to dream more.

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  20. Pamela (and pup),
    Thanks for sharing your interior visuals. Enjoyed my visit!

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  21. Fabulous
    Your words are enchanting.
    Blessings
    Jeanne ^j^

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  22. Another stunningly beautiful post. Big contented happy sigh. Much Love to Apple, Edward and you from Miss Winnie D, les Chats and me.

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  23. wow! - I can't imagine having that type of memory - a gift I think! - mine is so mumbly jumbly - the imagination is active though! perhaps too active.....

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  24. How happy we are with imagination..:)

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  25. Wow, your words are exactly what I have lived, thought, felt. Utterly uncanny.

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  26. That is so beautiful....I am like so impressed!!!!

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  27. The mysteries of the mind.....or the minds eye. I wonder what you do with melodies. Do they play over and over in your mind til you want to scream? Once I get a catchy tune into my head it takes a lot to get rid of them......and I hum them at the most inopportune moments. At school I would have given anything to have a photographic memory and less of the melody memory.

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  28. i once asked ; what is heaven like ?

    i was told that 'heaven',is what you dream of, the place you want ot be.

    i was very comfortedamb with that answer, and g-d willing , it is true.

    xxx

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  29. Pamela, how funny about the “photogenic memory!” I feel that way about horror or violent movies – I don’t like those images stuck in my head. What I like about reading is you create your own images. It sounds like you have a similar process in your holiday planning. Another thoughtful post!

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  30. At least you thought it up by yourself and it wasn't one of those faked picture brochures of a lovely resort that is anything but. In your case you can't flap the brochure in the managers face and say where's the vase???where's the roses????

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  31. Beautiful post. I have always loved that quote by Gaugin! Happy Weekend!

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  32. When we are due to visit somewhere we've never been or attend an event somewhere I don't know I always imagine or invent scenarios in my head of how it will look, who will be there, what I will do etc. More often than not things are completely different when you actually get there and you forget for a while what you imagined it would be like. Just occasionaly a place is exactly how you imagined.

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  33. Lovely....I can imagine that your trip planning is so magical when viewed this way...

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  34. I can relate with what Gaugain said. I like to add that the eyes of the imagination are inward. Our memory has so many different areas, I wish I had it for placement of objects and how they look like. I only have this for text on a page. Glad I found you!

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  35. I believe there are some literary works in this vein...the other half of the story being that one arrives somewhere one has never been which seems familiar, and is greeted as a long-lost relative/resident. There's a book called A Traveller in Time by The English writer Alison Utley, you might have to do a bit of digging to find it, which I think you might enjoy.

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  36. I have a memory that won't let go of anything. I feel like I need Dumbledore's Pensieve from time to time or my mind with explode.

    Maybe I'm just a good listener.

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