Sunday, September 7, 2008

Memory: A Decent Reason to Blog, "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn"

Whyfore blog? Maybe because it's just another memory file. Which brings one more chance for me to tout Jonathan Cott's seminal "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children's Literature." Oh yeah. Love this book. (For movie love, click here. Later.) So, Iona and Peter Opie are sitting at the table, and J. Cott is transcribing:

Jonathan: In 'Lore and Language,' you have a section devoted to how children mishear things. Could you give me an example?

Peter:  Iona had on the other day.

Iona:  There are hundreds of examples, that's the trouble.

Peter:  I'm afraid we can't remember.

Iona:  We have no memories, we only have filing systems. Because the traffic is going through at such a rate, all we remember is from our own childhoods, and then only the ordinary things that any one lifetime has acquired in the way of memories. But everybody else's childhood is coming at us, so we can't remember all the things we hear.

Peter:  That's true, we just write them down. But I also have a thing even against memory as such. If you have a memory, you tend not to be very good at creating. Pope has a line on this, which I'll give you....I always keep it on me because I can't even remember what the quotations are that say that it's a disadvantage to have a good memory. If there were no writing, I'd be lost...

Like I said, love this book. 

If Peter Opie is right about memory, I'm getting more creative every day. Goodie.

photo, above, from the doll museum in rothenburg