Integrative Seminar


“But when from a long-distance past nothing subsist, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (Vol. 1)

In the act of recall we often find that our memories come to us not in large reams but as small drops, like the drops that hang off the leaves after the rains. It is when these drops, sometimes millions of them, come together they form the structure of our memories and of our understanding of ourselves. In the process of writing about our selves we often turn to memory as the key that opens the doors of our imagination. At other times these drops come to us in the form of a catalyst, like Proust’s cup of tea, and these memories, often triggered by the sensuality of experiences, allow us to begin our journey of the Self.

In our class today we looked at the idea of the catalyst, how we can recognise them in song, poetry and prose; and drawing from these we began to talk about how we, as young writers, can employ them within our writings. Using Nick Mulvey’s song Cucurucu we looked at the ways in which we can create the scene, draw out from the scene and find the keys that will give us words. Mulvey’s song, influenced by D H Lawrence’s Piano, a poem written at the turn of the 20th century, draws on these ideas of memory, time and experience.

 Here is a song by Nick Mulvey that we used:
If we were to agree that the sum of our Selves, at this moment in time, is a collection of past experiences, how do we address the future? Is the future essential to this piece of writing? How does the here and now morph and change when it is seen through the lens of the past?

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