Tag Archives: Yanni

Friday Reflections: Memories

Good day, folks! ūüôā Hope everyone’s¬†been gearing up for (Inter)National Poetry Month! It’s just a few days away, now.

To get you warmed up, in case you’re participating in the April Poem-a-Day Challenge–or any other Poetry-writing event, this Friday’s Reflections post has several references¬†to other poems, books, songs, and related articles! ūüôā

Without further ado, this Friday’s topic:¬†memories.

by PARANOIA--7 at Deviantart

wonderful photography by PARANOIA–7 at Deviantart

Brainstorm!

Before my ideas clutter your thoughts, just take a¬†few minutes and brainstorm around the topic “memory”/”memories”:

  • list out any words that¬†pop in your head when you think “memory”
  • jot down any memories that strike your mind first
  • if you want to write about¬†memories as such and their nature¬†(not specific incidents in your life), you could¬†brainstorm¬†through the process of memory-making and remembering, and on how/why these happen

If you have a specific memory in mind already:

  • brainstorm note¬†any and all details you can remember, down to names, places, clothes,¬†colors, time of day, season/month, dialogue¬†(if any) and¬†even¬†brand names
  • brainstorm as many¬†sensory details as you can with regard to the scene of your memory; if what you’re going to write is going to¬†recall a memory, you can create the scene most effectively by being¬†specific
  • try to brainstorm¬†words that capture the mood of the memory

All Kinds of Memories

When we say “memory” we can mean the power of the human mind to save and recollect information. We could also mean Computer Memory: RAM or hard-disk memory…could be a tech-y poem (I’ve written one, it’s quite fun)!

The¬†m√©moire¬†(French for¬†memory) is also literary form. It’s not, however, the same as the¬†memoir¬†(the better-known of the two).

Memory poems, and the theme of nostalgia, are amongst my favorite when it comes to writing. I love saving up many keepsakes and little trinkets, and when I go back to them, they almost always invoke a little poetry.


(The word¬†nostalgia always reminds me of Yanni’s piece — this particular medley is all the more evocative.)

Often, these writings are¬†bittersweet, because we’re talking about what’s already¬†passed. Sometimes, they’re downright painful!

Some such famous poems include Lord Tennyson’s¬†Tears, Idle Tears and William Blake’s¬†Memory, hither come.

We talk about¬†cherished memories,¬†painful memories and childhood memories; we talk of¬†short term and long term memory, and even¬†memory loss. Many contemporary stories have protagonists who suffer from memory-loss — either temporary or permanent¬†(think¬†Memento). We talk about how¬†some memories fade, or about how we’re either¬†trying to remember or¬†trying to forget something.

Sometimes, we’re trying to remember something, and it’s¬†on the tip of our tongue, but not quite — a very interesting phenomenon!

We have all kinds of things aiding our memory now — Post-It notes, reminders and alarms, To-Do lists(potential list poem!) How do you keep track of/remember what has to be done? Do you have a system? Take a look at¬†your system — if you don’t have one, see if any family member you know, or perhaps a friend, does. Observe. How often are these aides…required? A little too often for comfort? Or does the subject perhaps have extremely good memory? (I certainly don’t!) Perhaps¬†photographic memory?

We could¬†remember a person,¬†remember an¬†experience¬†or even an¬†object. We could remember our pasts, remember the people and things we’ve lost. We could even remember a¬†culture — perhaps a dying culture — the remembering of it being its only means of survival.

A poem I wrote several years ago was written from the point of view of a woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. I was able to create tension by placing her beside her daughter, whom she did not recognize, and also by filling the scene with items and ideas that were to evoke memories — but only cause the woman pain and confusion instead.

You could also write about recollecting certain memories with someone else who has experienced them. Or perhaps, being unable to do so.

‚ÄúThe worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Lois Lowry, The Giver

Photographs

It’s interesting how photographs used to be so rarely taken once upon a time, and often only in large groups, or in studios — and now we¬†click!¬†thousands of them with mere touches to our smartphones. Many of us still have that nostalgic feeling, though, when we go back to certain photographs we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes, the memories seem so far away that we wonder if it really happened:

“Was it a dream?
Was it a dream?
Is this the only evidence that proves it,
A photograph of you and I–”
Song: “Was It a Dream?”,¬†30 Seconds to Mars

One of my personal favorite Memory songs is Memories by Within Temptation, and its lyrics give us an example of the effect one’s memories can have on him/her:

 

The Mind works how it will

This article on Memories, Photographs, and the Human Brain looks into the working of the human mind and how it captures memories and images.

It’s interesting how we remember things. How much of it is really as Mr. M√°rquez¬†says?

‚ÄúHe was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.‚ÄĚ
(from Love in the Time of Cholera)

And then there is this lovely bit¬†from Haruki Murakami‘s¬†Kafka on the Shore:

‚ÄúMost things are forgotten over time … There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.‚ÄĚ

Happy writing!

Try to put together the pieces of your brainstorm and flesh out the details of the memory you’ve chosen. Finally: what does it¬†do for the poet persona/writing voice? It could offer some kind of¬†progression or¬†growth. Does it prove cathartic or epiphanic, or provide some sense of closure?

Give some thought into why that particular memory, and what its recollection achieves.

Hope that gave you some food for thought and hopefully helped to write a piece ūüôā Happy writing, folks!

8 Music Prompts

It’s been quite a few Reflection Fridays in succession, so I thought I’d put up something a little different today! ūüôā

The best tonic for me when I feel a little low on inspiration is music. And while there are many wonderful, wonderful songs that work at just the right time, there are some compositions that work all-year-round for me – any day, any time, these pieces never fail to stir my spirit to write!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here it is: (Warning: there are a lot of embedded videos up ahead. You can always choose to load the links individually instead!)

Johann Pachelbel: Canon in D

Easily one of the most uplifting pieces I’ve ever heard. String orchestra versions are my personal favorites, but there are plenty of versions around the internet that are just as wonderful, like this one.

Frédéric Chopin: Tristesse

I love most of Chopin’s compositions, but if I were to pick a favorite… Tristesse (Etude 3, Opus 10) bests Fantasie Impromptu by just a margin. Tristesse¬†always touches me in that special way that tragedies do…never lets me go.

John Williams: Battle of the Heroes & Duel of the Fates

If I were to be honest, this would be a 9 Music Prompts list rather than 8 since I have chosen to mention two of Williams’ pieces. It’s very difficult for me to pick one over the other. In fact, I love¬†Across the Stars just as much as¬†Battle of Heroes and¬†Duel of Fates.¬†If you’re looking for romantic-epic music, I’d go for Across the Stars. The two mentioned here are battle-epic. They help me write climactic scenes (whether in prose or poetry) all the time!

Yanni: Enchantment

Enchantment was the first Yanni piece I ever heard, and remains my favorite. For me, it did exactly that: enchant. The music creates a sort of  magical mood. This somehow helps me write sensitive and earnest characters.

Mani Sharma: Thaye Yashoda (from the film ‘Morning Raaga’)¬†(Singer: Sudha Raghunathan)

This would be one of the best Fusion (Carnatic/Western) pieces I’ve ever heard. Takes my breath away.

Utada, Hikaru: First Love (Piano/Instrumental)

I love the lyrics of the song, but the instrumental version is simply…sublime. This piano duet version is also lovely.

Kajiura, Yuki: Akatsuki no Kuruma

Rarely is there a composition by Yuki Kajiura (also the pianist in this video) that I do not enjoy from start to end.¬†Akatsuki no Kuruma (Japanese) was my first experience with her music, and combined with Yuuka Nanri’s soulful voice, this song achieves such a depth -both its music and its lyrics- and it always leaves me wanting to write poetry. This Live version is the best one I know, possibly better even than the studio recording. I don’t know if there’s a translation that could go it justice, but do look it up if you’re interested! Beauty of music is, though, that it can be understood (to some level at least) even if it’s a different language.

Happy Writing!

That’s all folks! I think it’s been quite a long list, looking back – hope at least one or two pieces resonated with you and helped you write! ūüôā Happy weekend, folks, and happy writing! And three cheers for music~ ūüėČ