In Search of Lost Sewing Materials

I am such a nerd. I've been reading Proust's In Search of Lost Time and it inspired me to make a costume. I realized as it started to develop as a costume that I have had a dance in mind for awhile that I haven't consciously been very aware of yet. I've been dancing "about" (and thinking about) memory and the nature of remembering a lot in the last few weeks and so this seems like a good fit. Right now I'm polishing the design, but I'm hoping to have it completed for a few things coming up in the fall. Kind of exciting, because I'm not really a costumer but I just have all these ideas for this. And I feel like my costumes are never as inspired as my dance (more about that later).

It all started when I nonchalantly hauled out my copy of Proust was a Neuroscientist (by Jonah Lehrer) when I was having some lunch in Kensington Market a couple of weeks ago. I was instantly drawn in by Lehrer's views on art and science and in particular his defense of the importance of art and its place in the hierarchy of more objective knowledge. The book also reminded me that I'd meant to read some actual Proust for quite some time, so when I was finished (and already in a mindset of thinking about time, loss, change and memory) I started chugging through Lost Time. So far I've been richly rewarded with tons of inspiration and thinking and good intellectual and emotional stimulus.

I was talking to a friend and coworker about how much I was enjoying this train of thought I'd been on and as it turned out she's been fascinated by memory her whole life. We talked for a good few hours one day about how we remember and how memories are formed and changed over time, and it opened a lot of new doors to me.

I know nostalgia in particular is something that has always fascinated me. I remember when I finally found out (I say finally but I was probably about ten) that there was a word for the warm feeling I got when I remembered Christmas morning or the house we used to live in. I rolled it around on my tongue for weeks. I remember being a teenager, out driving around with friends and thinking to myself "this is wonderful. Someday I'll be nostalgic for this very moment." And predictably, I am when I think on it. I remember being about five years old and catching a picture of my and my family on the wall out of the corner of my eye. It occurred to me, suddenly and irrevocably that I was a real person who, for the rest of my life, would get to make every decision about everything I did. I felt terribly important and lucky to be here. I sometimes feel nostalgic for that moment of exuberance and optimism.

I lost my memory once. I was in an accident when I was fourteen, I fell and hit my head off a curb and when I stood up, I knew who I was and who many of my friends were, but I couldn't remember the events of the past seven months. Over time, they began to come back, but I still don't completely remember the end of grade nine or the summer that followed. It was terrifying to wake up and not know for sure whether or not my sister and her fiancé had gotten married yet. Or which grade I was going to for certain. Or whether or not I had the same boyfriend I had in my last available memory (fortunately I did and he was great about the whole thing).

So I guess what I'm saying is that like everyone, I have a deep attachment to memories and just enough experience without them to know how very vital they are to who I am. I guess it's not a surprise that a dance about memory is forthcoming. The first, but I'd say not the last. I think it's where I'm headed thematically for awhile. Hey, if it's good enough for Nabokov and Proust, it's definitely good enough for me. Plus I think there's something exciting about the idea of creating a body of work that discusses one idea from a bunch of different perspectives. How to dance about memory is a tough question, but I've danced about pride, jealousy, regret and existential crisis now so I'm willing to give it a try.

I can't wait to show you guys what I'm making and what I'm dancing!


  1. Great post! I love your writing style! I think alot about memory as well. I find that I can remember the tiniest details about somethings that don't seem to matter at all, and then the things I really want to remember I just can't keep fresh in my mind! It's so interesting. Thanks for giving me something to think about today!


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