Day 2041, two memories.

Day's pictures
Slide film, 1992, Rotterdam

I moved to Rotterdam in 1991 when I was 19. My younger sister had just moved there the year before, and because we always were close together, I decided to also go to school in Rotterdam, this seemed a good idea, and it was. I grew up in a small place with 5000 people where not much happened besides all the things we could do in the forests everywhere. I remember little about that time, even when I look at the few pictures of the places we lived. I just remember that I was a good time living there; remembering a feeling is maybe easier than remembering facts. I do remember the little supermarket just outside the door that was open 24 hours a day; back then, most stores still closed at six, so this was special. I also remember the bike ride I took every day to the other side of the city, timing myself to go faster and faster.

Day 1766, inspired memory.

Daily picture, Poetry

Our memory has some strange habits. We are good in remembering faces when we see one, a lot of us will forget the name attached to the face, but the face itself stays in our memory for a long time. Describing a face is much more difficult, just like describing an old house you lived in or your first car. When we try to recall a visual memory we often only see a part of that what was reality, we bind these parts together and assume that it is a good representation of that reality. When you see a picture of the car you once had, you recognize it immediately, you will also recognize it if you only see an outline, which suggests that the details are not necessary for your memory. This is why you also recognize an old friend from behind or in the distance.

When I look at old pictures I want to believe that I remember what I see and what was going on, but I just remember what I see on the picture, I remember seeing this before. When I see pictures from when I was really young, I remember only that I have seen the pictures before. This can be tricky, because you like to think that you remember other things in the picture to, like a couch, or a painting on the wall. Maybe you do remember, maybe you just remember it from that same picture, or from an other picture that hangs in the hallway of you parents depicting the same room.

What I wrote above, is just how I see it at this moment. I have read about it in the past, but I couldn’t tell you the names of the books or what was written in it in details. I stored some of that knowledge in my brain and that combined with my own thinking produces this. When we think about a subject and start to talk or write about it, we might use the same process as we do when we remember a face, or when we look at old pictures.

Imagine a car designer. The designer has seen hundreds of cars, and learned all kinds of visual and constructional rules. Do you think, that when they start designing a new car, that they calculate, and rationalize every line and shape? I don’t think so. I think that they stand knee deep in all the memories of cars and other shapes. From that memory mud, fumes rise up to impregnate the rational mind, I guess you can call this also inspiration. I think the same thing happens when you write a book, or tell a story from your past, it is all loosely connected with reality, an inspired feeling.

Today’s inspiration is from Day 1499.

Looking

through old picture albums

in my head

~

with a mind

that fades

stares

contracts

~

and leaves me

with a feeling

that I remember

Day 1707, Unknown known.

Day's pictures, Poetry

Do you ever want to go back to a time in your past where you now think you were happier? I have that, but I don’t know if I were happier, that’s such a fleeting concept. I just like to go back to a time where I was more naive than I am now. Before, I regularly was amazed after reading a book or a talk with an interesting stranger, and that still happens, but it’s no longer twice a month but twice a year.

In my personal live I wouldn’t mind going back to the time where I was 19 and just joined the Dutch Marines, where the world opened up to me. Meeting my physical boundaries and crossing the real one by working in totally different cultures around the world. I preferably go back with the knowledge I have now but I guess that will spoil the fun. But still, it would be interesting walking in your own shadow.

The Haiku I found today (Day 802) was only written a couple of day later than the one from yesterday. I don’t know if it is any good in the world of poetry but that’s not why I write them. I write them in an attempt to reshuffle my thought and print out the results on a daily basis, brain exercise.

Going.

Retreating backwards

where the lights once were shining

to the unknown known.

Being nostalgic, every now and than, is something most people don’t escape from. We bring with us memories and where they land on the scale of truthfulness doesn’t matter, they are there and ours. Often you go back to your memories to share them with others or with the people that where there. Or you want to recall a name or place or you go there unwillingly when you see a picture or meet an old friend. But you can also “Retreat(ing) backwards” in a way to escape your current predicaments. All these examples do also count for couples, groups of people or whole countries. And there the retreat backwards can be seen in politics where people praise (“where the lights ones were shining “), lets say, the fifties. The like to think that the people where nice back than, the neighbors white and the lawns trimmed every weekend, and where kids die of polio, gays where prosecuted and asbestos was sawn in the shad for your new roof.

We tend to believe our own memories, even if you have studied the brain, psychology or are just interested in the subject. It is hard to believe that your own memories, most of the time, have little to do with what really happened, specially your ow role in these events. That’s why I call it the “to the unknown known” in the haiku.

We know our past but we also don’t.