Sep 1, 2009

sleepwalking into a closet

so, sometimes I will endup reading an old post of mine and will find myself editing. for no real reason. not even for general typos or errors. just a turning of a phrase will suddenly irk me or I'll find I have more to say. or I'll find a typo so bad it has morphed into another word entirely lending a new and unintended meaning to a sentence I actually cared about.
I was on the verge of performing such an action on my last blog post when I realized I couldn't do it.

Not (only) because I didn't care or (not only) because I didn't know what I wanted to change, but because I very simply did not remember writing it.

This is a very singular event for me.
As such I find myself both unnerved and a little relieved.
For most of my life I have possessed what appears to be an unusually keen memory. I say this not out of assumption of my own clarity. Infact, for a very long time I assumed most people remembered as much, or more, than I did. Then I'd find myself in conversations where it became clear large parts of their pasts had been removed to make space for something new. Voluntarily and involuntarily I do not know.
But this ...sort of clear cutting of past ideas, memories, notions intrigued me.

My initial thought was that people forget what they choose to place little significance on. Song lyrics or the color of a shirt of a girl they never liked anyway. An irrelevant conversation goes straight to the recycling bin. Fair enough.

I no longer believe this the case. I no longer believe we have such control. And while I do believe there is an undeniable correlation between the moments we place significance on, the extra attention they are given, and our ability to retain that memory, I think sometimes it's just a crapshoot in the gamehall of our minds.

I mean, how else can you explain that I still no every word to George Michael's "faith" when I readily forget statistical equations that might be of use? How else can you explain that I sometimes can not place whole conversation I had in complete sobriety when I remember a lecture from 1993?

I am sure a cognitive scientist could help me with this dilemma.
I do not know any cognitive scientists.

SO I am left pondering this question. Wondering how it is I do not remember having a thought I was intrigued enough with to write down. Wondering what swarm of emotion let me sleepwalk through a blog post. Wondering how many moments I have walked into eyes wide open, only to trap that memory in dark closet for all eternity.
Was I sleeping? Did I sleep?

1 comment:

Emily said...

what do we learn about ourselves when we visit these "relics" these thoughts we've had or forgotten. And what does that say that we WANT to edit them. Do we want to continue to work toward personal progress? Are we neurotic? You have inspired me to go through old journals and blogs....