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Quotations about Memory
Memory is more than a dustbin of time, stuffed with yesterday's trash. Rather, memory is a glorious grab bag of the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them. ~Hal Boyle, 1971
Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"
It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. ~P.D. James
Whoever snatched my formerly reliable, sharp short-term memory: I'd like it back now, please. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2016 September 2nd tweet, professorsunwolf.com
Years fold their mantles
Round those dead blisses...
~J.J. Britton (1832–1913), "Long Ago"
Point is, you hardly remember the perfect things. But when perfect goes wrong, those are the memories that last forever. ~Steven White and Yamara Taylor, black‑ish, "Just Christmas, Baby" [S3, E10, 2016, Dre narrating]
And even if you were in some prison, the walls of which let none of the sounds of the world come to your senses — would you not then still have your childhood, that precious, kingly possession, that treasure-house of memories? ~Rainer Maria Rilke
I enjoy, occasionally, a day with my memories — these paintings hanging on the walls of my mind. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. ~Jean de Boufflers
I have memories — but only a fool stores his past in the future. ~David Gerrold
A happy childhood can't be cured. Mine'll hang around my neck like a rainbow, that's all, instead of a noose. ~Hortense Calisher, Queenie, 1971
Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. ~Saul Bellow
Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but it is theater. It is the medium of past experience, just as the earth is the medium in which dead cities lie buried. He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. ~Walter Benjamin
Memory itself is an internal rumour. ~George Santayana, The Life of Reason
There's nothing in the world that clings
As does a memory that stings...
~Georgia Douglas Camp Johnson (1880–1966), "Inevitably," The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems, 1918
Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me. Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
A childhood is what anyone wants to remember of it. It leaves behind no fossils, except perhaps in fiction. ~Carol Shields
It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a luster obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment — but who can be sure that the Imagination is not the torch-bearer? ~Lord Byron
The past is never dead, it is not even past. ~William Faulkner
Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart. ~Thomas Fuller
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
With most men, scarce a link of memory holds yesterday and to-day together. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims, "Inspiration"
What we remember from childhood we remember forever — permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. ~Cynthia Ozick
Memory is what tells a man that his wife's birthday was yesterday. ~Mario Rocco
Tonight, as I looked out my window
At the snowflakes, lovely and white,
I thought of the days of my girlhood
Long past, all so happy and bright!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The First Snow of the Season" (1940s)
Living in memories is an empty gesture. ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
All our lives we are engaged in preserving our experiences and keeping them fresh by artificially sprinkling the water of memory over them. They have ceased to retain their original smell and fragrance. Do you call it life— this effort at the preservation of a phantom freshness in something that is withered and gone? ~Vimala Thakar
To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.
~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground
In memory's telephoto lens, far objects are magnified. ~John Updike
Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember. ~Seneca
The happiest memories are of moments that ended when they should have. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth. ~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
I am a miser of my memories of you
And will not spend them.
~Witter Bynner, "Coins"
Memory only slumbers—never dies. ~Thomas Paine (1737–1809) + Chambers's Journal, 1868
[T]here is no such thing as forgetting possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may, and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil — and that they are waiting to be revealed, when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn. ~Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1821 [originally published anonymously
The existence of forgetfulness has never been proved. All we know is that recollection may not be within our power. Up to the present we have filled that gap in our power with the word "forget," just as if it were another addition to our list of faculties. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Morgenröte – Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile, 1881 [No. 126 — "oblivion" or "forgetting" are sometimes translated instead of "forgetfulness."
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! ~John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany, 1989
Memory is second sight. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897
The man with a clear conscience probably has a poor memory. ~Author Unknown
...Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies...
~William Wordsworth, lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, 1798 July 13th
There are memories I choose not to live with, but we hang out at the same bar. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories. ~Walter Benjamin
A photograph is like the recipe — a memory the finished dish. ~Terri Guillemets
[M]emory is time folding back on itself. ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008
The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind. ~Thalassa Cruso, To Everything There is a Season, 1973
Indeed, let us not forget,
But also let us not dwell!
The two offices of memory are collection and distribution. ~Samuel Johnson
Adulthood is when the ghosts of childhood appear. ~Terri Guillemets
The world shrieks and sinks talons into our hearts. This we call memory. ~Tim O'Brien, Tomcat in Love
Hmmm, how to "can a day?" You know, those days that seem just perfect you want access to them whenever the need arises. ~Jeb Dickerson, jebdickerson.com
The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant. ~Salvador Dali
What are memories but dreams of a better past. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. ~Michel de Montaigne
Life is a rough biography. Memories smooth out the edges. ~Terri Guillemets
The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected. ~Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991
She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes. ~Frank Deford
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
You can be sad recalling sad times, but if you really want to be sad, recall happy times. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
...and torture myself with happy thoughts... ~Terri Guillemets
Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. ~From the movie An Affair to Remember, written by Delmer Daves, Donald Ogden Stewart, Leo McCarey, and Mildred Cram
It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
I'm always fascinated by the way memory diffuses fact. ~Diane Sawyer
You can accept a falling out that changes your plans, but it's hard to accept a betrayal that changes your memories. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. ~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender