Wednesday 20 October 2010

Go VIVIDLY Into Your Memories

I can't remember what triggered me to do this last night, maybe I was thinking about an old friend or something; but there I was, at two in the morning, unable to sleep and thinking about my old school. I vividly imagined being on the grounds and walking into each and every building. I imagined walking down the old corridors that I used to walk down, every day, for years. I set myself a little challenge of remembering every classroom and what subject was taught there.

To my surprise, as I did this-- it brought things back really intensely. As I entered the classrooms, I would see my old teachers. Of course, they were as they were, all them years ago - they've surely aged a lot now and many of the rooms may have changed, or are not even there anymore. But in my memory, everything was so real. How often do you really take the time to truly use this power in your mind? To go back, intensely, into a past experience?

It wasn't just visual, but it brought back the smells. The aroma of the Food Tech rooms (which is not as nice as it sounds) or the carpet-y smell from the room where we were taught French, or the Drama Studio smell which I can only describe as the Drama Studio smell. If I could smell it right now I'd think "wow, that smells like the drama studio from school!"

The most interesting thing to me was how I saw all my old teachers in a new light. Back then, in the school days, Mr. Thomas was just Mr. Thomas who would be waiting there in History class for us. Twice a week, every week, for many years, there he was, delivering a class that we seldom paid attention to. Thinking back, did I even recognise him as a human? Did I care how his day was? Was I aware that he had good days and bad days? Did I know anything about his family? Did I give him a hard time? This was a very fascinating experience, to think back, because in my memory, I'm 15. But now, I'm not 15, I'm a lot older and arguably wiser, so it's weird to revisit a part of my memories with a new perspective. A perspective where I can see things a lot more from another point of view.

If I had to write a scene last night, or even right now, about a teacher-- I would be so much more prepared. I have written teacher scenes before, and done the usual thing of imagining it a little bit and then thrashing it out on paper. But now, with this different and more absorbing process, I am certain my writing would be a lot better. I literally feel like I jumped in a DeLorean and zoomed back to my younger days, and got to observe it all over again. Similarly, if I was an actor; I would be so much more prepared now playing the role of a teacher, because of this experience.

I implore you to do this tonight, before you go to bed. Go vividly into a past experience. School is a great one because, we spent so much time there, there is a giant warehouse of memories and ideas and feelings locked somewhere in your brain that you probably haven't accessed in years. Even just picturing old classrooms again-- you probably haven't pictured them in many years, but there they are, waiting for you. The memory is fascinating, and an incredible tool- be it for creativity, or for reminiscing or even just for passing time!

A bizarre thing for me was that some things I couldn't remember. The main building of our school was on three floors - and for some crazy reason, I can't remember the top two floors AT ALL, even though I spent as much time there as anywhere else. Why would my brain choose to disregard these areas? I have no idea.

You could use these skills you have to dive into the past for very specific purposes related to writing or acting, but I would recommend just doing it for the experience, it will unlock parts of yourself and places from your life that you've completely forgotten.

Care to share?

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