My blog started with storytelling as a main theme. I have always been interested in how stories (visual, oral, memories) are a big part of our personality. I wanted to explore storytelling through images / pictures / illustrations. During the process of exploring storytelling methods, I got attracted towards graphic novel style of telling a story. I am fascinated with the effect graphic novels have on reader’s mind. Mixture of words and images, storyboarded in very attractive way leave an impact that is so similar to the impact that is created after watching a film. From graphic novels, I took a step back and gave a thought to what exactly involves storytelling and its narration.
When I decided that as part of my MA project, I want to tell a story, I started thinking what story should I tell? Options were 1. Tell my own story. 2. Narrating P.L. Deshpande’s (Indian author) stories in a graphical form as all his books mainly have text and no images. I started thinking of what kind of story should I tell in order to connect with people from allover the world? This is when I started developing the concept of memories. Since couple of years I have been very fascinated with how I recall certain memories at unexpected times and how I remember them so graphically. I want to explore this concept in my project and get to know what other people think of memories. Are memories important to everyone? Do they connect to them as strongly as I do? What about people suffering from memory loss?
My current plan is to get to know what people’s perception about memories is. Later explorations could involve creating a platform where people can share their memories and appreciate memories. Basic idea is to illustrate memories.
Why is it so important to record memories for me? What about people suffering from Dementia and other related diseases? These are few of the questions bothering me since my discussion with Frazer Hudson. I started thinking of the closest example I could think of, my grandfather. Recently he was diagnosed with alzheimer’s and his behaviour kept getting strange since then. My grandpa, who used to keep himself busy by watching television, reading news paper, playing card games, going for walks, chatting with his friends circle has now stopped doing most of these things. The fascinating fact for me was that he stills remembers certain old memories but he can’t remember if he had lunch after one hour after having lunch.
The quote “A man is a sum of his memories” suddenly made sense. Memories are stored so deep within us that even when suffering from dementia, my grandpa could remember small details of his past.
While I was thinking about Frazer Hudson’s suggestion during our discussion day before, about different perspectives in storytelling, I got reminded of an assignment I worked on during my undergraduate studies. The assignment was a part of ‘Illustration course’ where I was given a story to illustrate in three frames. There were three characters in the story and I had an option to select one character to illustrate the story from his point of view. The three characters were,
Rehman – a wealthy man
Abdul – a servant of Rehman
Death – fictional character (villain)
I had chosen Rehman’s point of view and the result was as follows. It was very interesting to see other point of views and I realised how a single story could be told in different ways just by changing perspective.
The gist of the story is,
Abdul spots death in a market. frightened Abdul runs away from it as fast as he can.
He goes to his master (Rehman) and asks for his help.
Rehman, a kind man gives money to Abdul and asks him to leave the town and save himself.
Relating this to my current project, it will be really interesting to see different people’s take on memories in general or on a particular type of memory from childhood; For example, “my first day of school” or “my first love”. Since memories are very personal and individualistic, it can be a good exercise for me to test if my illustrated memories (that I feel are very rich with feelings, contents) make sense to other people, see if they can relate to it. It will also be very interesting to make a collection of different people’s memories and try to look for connecting threads.
After my discussion with Toby Lyons and Frazer Hudson yesterday, I thought of taking a step back and think about memories in a larger perspective and their importance in one’s life. So what are memories? Memories are our ability to encode experiences, store them and recall them anytime we want. There is a lot of information stored in our brains; but where do we get all this information? One might think of a brain like a bag filled with lots of events, moments, songs, books etc. But in reality, memory is not one single solid thing. It is a term that involves lots of distinct recollections that are used in different combinations at different point by a typical human being. (Burnett, 2015)
There are two types of memories. Short term memory and long term memory. People usually tend to refer to short term memory as recalling things that happened recently. But in reality short term memory lasts for much short time. Typically, short term memory lasts for 15 to 30 seconds. Any memory that can be recalled after that time is long term memory. Unlike short term memories, long term memories are physically present in the brain. These memories remain in brain whether they are used (recalled) regularly or not. Long term memory has further classification. (Burnett, 2015)
In relation to my project, I am now trying to answer few questions like why are memories so important? Why should I document them? What about people who have lost their memory or people suffering from diseases like alzheimer’s and dementia? Why should people care about recording their memories?
Burnett, D. (2015, September 16). What happens in your brain when you make a memory? The Guardian, 1.
I looked at different ways of telling at the same story.
I tried creating a rough storyboard for the incident I mentioned in the previous post.
“I was playing on a swing in the playground opposite my house. I used to live on the last floor of three floored building. I used to play with my friends for two-three hours in playground across the road everyday. It was a warm evening. Everything around me looked yellow. The park had few trees.We were taking turns on the swing because there were only two swings. I think I was 3-4 years old. It was my turn to swing and I suddenly had this very different feeling. I had thought of a beautiful poetry. At least I thought it was the greatest richest, most beautiful poem in the world. I was very proud of myself and I wanted to tell my mother about how I thought of such a great poem and read it to her as soon as possible. I started running towards my house. There were many people asking me different questions and saying hi to me. I tried ignoring all of them so that I don’t let my attention shift from the greatest poetry. I wanted to say it to my mother exactly the way I had imagined it. I reached the door of my house and rang the bell. Mom opened the door. I was panting. And just when I was going to explain all to her, I totally forgot the story. I still don’t remember it. But I remember the feeling. The feeling that the poem was the best thing in the world. “
The story above is in fact one of the incidents that I clearly remember from my early childhood. It was special to me because I distinctively remember how exactly it felt at that point. I thought “why can’t I take it forward and present it in a graphical format?”
This idea came to me during a discussion with a friend on certain incidents from childhood and how they pop up in our minds time to time. In both of our opinions, it was very fascinating that we can remember so much from our past, early childhood so graphically! This idea caught my interest and I thought of a need to record these graphical memories.