Sunday, April 24, 2011


The Memory of Love engrosses the reader in three narratives: three memories contorted and misshapen from trauma and horrific events that occurred during the civil war in Sierra Leone. A human microcosm of posttraumatic stress sleeping in the memory only to awaken in nightmares and flashbacks brutally resurrecting the time of terror. So many passages in this book reminded me of conversations I had with people whom I met in Congo.

Is a memory of pain true pain? When does the trauma of war, poverty, corruption, and abuse of power end?

Passages from The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

The memories come at unguarded moments, when he cannot sleep. In the past, at the height of it, he had attended to people whose limbs had been severed. Working with a Scottish pain expert years later, he treated some of those same patients again. They complained of feeling pain in the lost limbs, the aching ghost of a hewn hand or foot. It was a trick of the mind, the Scotsman explained to Kai: the nerves continued to transmit signals between the brain and the ghost limb. The pain is real, yes, but it is a memory of pain.

And when he wakes from dreaming of her, is it not the same for him? The hollowness in his chest, the tense yearning, the loneliness he braces against every morning until he can immerse himself in work and forget. Not love. Something else, something with a power that endures. Not love, but a memory of love.

On Lies

In his work Adrian has met many kinds of liar: pathological liars, compulsive liars, patients with different kinds of personality disorders. Broadly speaking though, when it comes down to it, there are just two types of liar: the fantasist and the purist. The fantasists are the embroiderers. Simplest to spot because they have a tendency to contradict. A liar should have a good memory, said Quintilian. The trouble with the fantasists is that, in their eagerness to impress, they become careless about the details. The purists, as Adrian thinks of them, are of distinctly cooler temperament. Intellectually-minded, they understand the fallibility of memory, prefer to lie by omission. The silent lie that can neither be proved or disproved. The fantasists and the purists have one thing in common, and this they share with all liars- the pathological, the compulsive, the delusional, the ones who suppress and repress unbearable memories. They all lie to protect themselves, to shield their egos from the raw pain of truth. And one thing Adrian's two decades of study and practice have taught him is to discover the purpose served by the lie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Premonition

Passages from The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

This is how it is when you glimpse a woman for the first time, a woman you know you could love. People are wrong when they talk of love at first sight. It is neither love nor lust. No. As she walks away from you, what you feel is loss. A premonition of loss.

[as he walks away from you...]

Beyond the high walls he hears water running, the hollow knock of empty buckets, women's voices arguing, he thinks. He is not sure. He thinks how quiet affluence is: people living in private spaces, arguments in the shape of silences and closed doors. Compares it to the rowdy unselfconsciousness of poverty.

Outside the window somebody is talking in a loud voice. He has no idea what they are saying. For a moment his mind drifts with the thought. To be surrounded by languages you don't understand. Of how it must, in some ways, be like being deaf. The deaf children he knew, whose parents sometimes came to see him, became remote, cut off, even inside their own families. Silent islands. By the time they were diagnosed the damage to the relationship with their parents and siblings was already done. No wonder, he thinks, that the deaf create their own communities. Deliberately turning their backs on the hearing world.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

read a kid's book

a kid's book

The Dreamer - Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sis

It's important to read a kid's book with accompanying illustrations from time to time. This book includes a selection of Neruda's poems and odes at the end.

Which is sharper?
The hatchet that cuts down dreams?
Or the scythe that clears a path for another?

What is the color of a minute?
a month?
a year?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Crocus Bloom

signs of spring in my mother's backyard on April 2, 2011

About Me

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What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.