This month, I’m writing words and posting images relating to the landscape of memory. I hope to write poems most days and also share photos, quotes, and more prosaic thoughts related in some way to memory, nostalgia, longing for place, remembering and forgetting, landscape, dreamscape, landscape’s memory and memory’s landscape, the intersection of the layered historical physical world with personal memory, the frames that both landscape and memory use to contain and order our focus, the landscape of childhood, the landscape of devastation, how memories lie and tell the truth, the fragmentation of memory, how landscapes shape us and our memories, and so on. All the posts will be linked to the Introductory Page as they are posted. Thanks for visiting.
Today, a overlaid collage of nine of the 24 places I’ve lived in during my 58 years, so far — my parents’ houses, dorm rooms, shared houses, apartments, and owned and rented houses — along with some words by WH Auden about the effect of transience on memories. It’s a short statement packed with significance.
“Given the circumstances of modern life, the feeling that only memories are real is to be expected. When a man usually lived in the house where his father and grandfather had lived before him, the past still existed in the present, not just in his memories but objectively about him. Today when men change not only their house but their part of the world every few years, their present circumstances become more and more impersonal, subjective memories more and more important.” — WH Auden, from “A foreword to James Wright’s The Green Wall“ (1957)
The house my father and grandfather lived in (photo taken in 2010); I lived there for a few weeks in the summers when I was a kid and have a strong mental map of it: