Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mem'ries of a Heart Man

Heart Man ThumbI have been thinking about memory lately. Any psych student will be able to tell you what a quirky thing memory is, but I'm sure you have experienced it for yourself, talking to siblings about that Christmas years ago, to old friends about that day on the swingset, or to spouses about that special date.

I admit, I pride myself on my memory, as my mother will surely attest. It isn't that, like my friend Yasmeen, I can remember every country in the world and its capital city. Despite being a student of history, I don't really have a head for dates. And goodness knows I'm not good at remembering all the tasks and chores I should be accomplishing every day. But sometimes, my mind creates the most vivid memories, short video captures of a day and a time - what happened, who said what, the quality of the light as it came in through the window.

But even more surprising, of course, are the things we forget. That's why it is so great to have lifelong friends - they'll often remember the funny episodes you forgot. And then there are the things that trigger memories that you thought had disappeared long ago. Smells are often connected with memory, but a song might do it, or a photograph. I found a little doodle of mine the other day, executed when I was about four and half years old. It wasn't that the picture brought back any specific memory like the ones I often get, although I knew from looking at it that I drew it in church, probably an evening service, and that it was probably scrap paper from my mother's bible.

Heart Man Doodle

Even though it wasn't connected to a memory, I had a strange flood of emotion as I looked at it. I remember the feeling of pleasure and surprise, that I had drawn something so rudimentary and yet so aesthetically perfect. That came from this pencil? I have had very few moments like that in my measly artistic career (a drawing of my cat Dusty, leaping after yarn, in grade one, is indelibly sketched in my memory, still the height of feline perfection), when you know something is just right, and you instinctively stop, and rest, and admire.

Of course, none of you may think this picture is quite the height of artistic pen drawing that I do (this is a replica by the way, I traced it into my journal when I found it). And yet somehow, Heart Man (that is the title I gave him way back then) is still artistically pleasing to me. He's a piece of my soul. My four-and-a-half-year-old soul.

Note: The duplicate paragraphs in this post have been deleted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You always were a talented child with a vivid imagination. I do remember your heart man.I'm surprised, however, that you didn't draw a "heart woman." Hmmm...what do you suppose that means?