In the comments stream for a previous article — A Semiotic History of Playing with Brains — I revealed the following:

I am sort of cursed with the ability to exactly remember experiences and conversations in images going all the way back to childhood.  They are sort of branded in my brain and I relive them in quiet moments and it can make one slightly uncomfortable when those moments are unpleasing — so I visualize that repetitive image and then I use a giant pink eraser in my visual mind and literally erase the image, or parts of it, from my view.

That sort of proactive action from the immediate me in the instant now is enough, it seems, to cancel out the ghost images of the past from re-appearing.

When you try to live in the now, how do you deal with the hauntings of your past — do you repress them, express them, or try to re-form them into a fresher context?

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

23 Comments

  1. Gordon Davidescu December 4, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Just this morning, possibly thanks to the fact that I have been reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the visual image of a man falling from the WTC has been replaying in my mind at odd times. I try to think of a horse, with its blinders, and focus on what I am trying to do. Never mind you, haunting image! I have something to do here! Usually works.:)

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  2. Kathakali Chatterjee December 4, 2008 at 10:54 am

    The only way to deal with the past I think is to reshape them in to present context David. Repression breeds grudge, expression might be tricky – so the only option left os to redesign it I guess.

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  3. The WTC is rife with images that still enslave us. Gordon. The giant hole in the ground we still have seven years later doesn’t help us with the moving on…
    I remember a video shot of people running in the street as the first tower fell and the cloud of black, acrid, smoke from the tower gave way to the face of the devil churning out from the fiery mask. It was terrifying.
    Do presentations like this —
    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2005/06/17/skarbakka050617.html
    — help or hurt us in the forgetting?

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  4. I believe you’re right about the repression, Katha. That only pushes the memory deeper to erupt from different places with unpredictable results.
    I like the idea of reshaping and redefining the context.

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  5. Gordon Davidescu December 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Wow. Weird “art” – certainly didn’t help me much.

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  6. Kathakali Chatterjee December 4, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Yes, David – repression doesn’t help, it always backfires.
    Redifining is the only option…

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  7. I agree, Gordon. Tastelessness pretending to be outrageous art. Remember the statue celebrating the WTC fallen that was a person falling on their head?

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  8. It is also important, Katha, for the tortured to do the re-defining. If the task is handled by someone else, then the meaning is lost and the original haunting remains.

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  9. Kathakali Chatterjee December 4, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Hi David,
    Yes, if I am the “haunted” one, no way other can reshape the expereince for me, unless I choose to share it with my closed ones – at the most they might help me showing various way out – but deciding”the context” is my task alone.

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  10. Many people don’t want that control, Katha. They are too used to living with the terror. It’s a terrible box for them.

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  11. Kathakali Chatterjee December 4, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    ???
    Now I think I am lost!
    Do you mean “change resistance”?

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  12. Hi Katha!
    Yes, there are people that have these terrible experiences, repress them, and are unwilling to proactively change them because they are used to — comfortable with — the terror.

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  13. Gordon Davidescu December 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I actually do not remember the statue at all. Hmm. Google tells me nothing.

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  14. I may have to make into a post for Memeingful, Gordon! I think I still have an image of that terrible piece of “art” somewhere around here.

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  15. Dananjay Anandan December 4, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    David!
    Where does one get that magic eraser?
    I’ve found that to express them in a different context often opens us to different views of the experiences that helps in understanding them better.

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  16. Kathakali Chatterjee December 5, 2008 at 2:02 am

    David! It would suffocate me till my core…

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  17. The magic eraser is inside your mind. Mine is a red rubber eraser that I use to wipe away people and images that disturb me. I have to brush away the rubber bits afterward, but that’s the great satisfaction of it all.

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  18. Dananjay Anandan December 7, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Sounds good, David! Though I’d have to wonder what we would be like without the memories we’d rather not remember.

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  19. It can be difficult, Dananjay, but the memory remains. It just the way we choose to view it that gets adjusted.

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  20. Dananjay Anandan December 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I believe so, David. Once the negative charge is removed from the memory it grows into our understanding.

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  21. That’s true, Dananjay. The energy remains unchanged — it is our filtering of it that helps us deal with the original impulse.

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