Memory is Creativity 04/26/21

I was talking to my mother tonight, and I remarked that I don’t have very many memories of my father while I was growing up. Then, after a bit of consideration, I said, “Well, I don’t have many memories of anything growing up.”

This got me to thinking: I never spend time to reminisce. Everything is in the future or the present. I am focused on getting through the day, completing my tasks, always moving on to the next thing. As I sat there, I began to remember things: the time I jumped on a laundry basket and broke it, the playground in our backyard, my schoolteachers, playing Mortal Kombat II at my friend Steve’s house when I wasn’t supposed to. I remembered the way my grandmother’s house felt like a person to me, all of its smells and the sinister basement.

Going down memory lane can be nice, actually. You begin to feel things, and you realize that you’ve lived this whole life, accumulating experiences. It’s bizarre.

I’m beginning to think that creativity and memory might be linked in a pretty serious way. Could my four years of complete block revolve around my inability to remember anything? How does social media factor into this? If the immediacy and ephemerality of tweets necessarily creates a “nowness” disconnected from your own life story, are you also cutting off your creativity at the source?

Instead of meditating, I might instead work on some practiced memory exercises. What was I doing in 1999? How did I feel when I visited that monastery in the snow in Germany, when I passed a waterfall frozen solid? Did that even happen? That’s the trick right there.

Memory is mixed in with dreams. It’s like watching a drop of blood swirl in a mason jar of tap water endlessly, never fully diluting.

How often do we sit, with all of our screens off, and daydream? How often do we do the same and reminisce? This might be the key.

Many things to think about.

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