Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!
There is no such thing as memory: the brain recalls just what the muscles grope for: no more, no less: and its resultant sum is usually incorrect and false and worthy only of the name of dream.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.
The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. They were only a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.[Les lieux que nous avons connus n’appartiennent pas qu’au monde de l’espace où nous les situons pour plus de facilité. Ils n’étaient qu’une mince tranche au milieu d’impressions contiguës qui formaient notre vie d’alors; le souvenir d’une certaine image n’est que le regret d’un certain instant; et les maisons, les routes, les avenues, sont fugitives, hélas, comme les années.]
The images selected by memory are as arbitrary, as narrow, as elusive as those which the imagination had formed and reality has destroyed. There is no reason why, existing outside ourselves, a real place should conform to the pictures in our memory rather than those in our dreams.[Les images choisies par le souvenir sont aussi arbitraires, aussi étroites, aussi insaisissables, que celles que l’imagination avait formées et la réalité détruites. Il n’y a pas de raison pour qu’en dehors de nous, un lieu réel possède plutôt les tableaux de la mémoire que ceux du rêve.]
The history of a city was like the history of a family – there is closeness, and even affection, but death eventually separates everyone from each other. It is only the vividness of memory that keeps the dead alive forever; a writer’s job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as our personal memories.