Sunday, August 28, 2011

Needing a Pensieve

A few weeks ago I decided to take a sabbatical from reading nonfiction politically charged books about the corruption of governments, the devastation of the environment, plague, financial collapse, child soldiers in Sudan, and other cheery topics. Instead, I am rereading all the Harry Potter books and I gotta say that I am loving every minute of it. It doesn’t get any better than J.K. What a genius. Last night I finished The Goblet of Fire, number four in the series of seven, and the book in which the pensieve is introduced. After begin reintroduced to the concept of a pensieve, I realize that the older I get, the more I need a pensieve. Would someone please invent a real one?

In case you live under a rock and have not read Harry Potter or seen the films, the pensieve is a basin filled with molten light into which the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Wizard Albus Dumbledore, stores thoughts and memories that are cluttering up his brain. Dumbledore is a very old fellow. The older I get, the more material I have cluttering up my own brain and I really do wish I could take some of this nonsense out and store it in an external brain available to me for access whenever needed. I am impressed that J.K. understood this so clearly at the young age at which she created the concept of the pensieve.

My mind is so full of infinite details that need attention, things to remember to do, memories from years gone by, stories to be told as well as stories heard and loved, inventions and imaginings not yet committed to paper, reveries, creations, meditations, connections, images, fragments of sensual experience, tunes, and on and on and on. I could not live without post-its to help me remember things that need tending to on a daily basis, including work tasks as well as household management tasks. And I am astonished that writers could even function before computers; I can barely remember what I myself did before them, when I wrote on a Hermes electric with a one-character memory correction key. But in truth, after recently celebrating another birthday, I have to admit that I long for that pensieve in which to store some of this stuff that is spilling out of the closets of my brain. If I’m like this in my 50s, what on earth will I be like in my 70s, or beyond if I should be so lucky to live that long? I shudder to think.

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