No one ever tells you how much book reading or movie watching or net surfing is enough.
There is no calorie count on in-take of stories. Even though you digest bizarre old plots recycled again and again, taste music, experience the relationships of characters, it often leaves you with post-Rajma effect.
Irony is, more and more movies and books are becoming forgettable. One still manages to recite: ‘love is not love which alters when it alteration finds’, but most new things do not seem worth memorizing.
Talking of memorizing reminds me of school and some days of college where students of any stream and subject will be found cramming, mugging or eating up words, ‘notes’ and ‘material’. There used to be ‘material’ even for literature students, where hardly anyone cares about marveling at an original Coleridge or Frost, and can score a first class by simply reading a printed bunch of papers prepared by a frustrated lecturer.
Times have changed. Now we have to find something impressive to put on our status messages. There you often find quotes from classics and pearls from a generation in between. How smart they make us look! Oh wait, there is also a software that can help you change that intellectual status message every few days. Never mind the originality of status messages and tweets, cause we don’t remember any of it any way.
The fact is, we still ‘remember’, have it in our memories, that a quote of Shakespeare or Twain is worth it.
So what exactly sticks in our brains from all the memorizing? Is memorizing something like creating an image, an imitation in our minds? We all seem to have collectively and unconsciously decided that most new things are not worth memorizing anymore. Post a news link, ooh-aah over it. Forget it. Our heads are buzzing with current affairs, sports, disasters in such a way that saying ‘there is no time to stare sounds’ like a cliche and very few will identify without googling that it comes from Frost.
Watched Finding Forrester recently where a reclusive Pulitzer winning author William Forrester (supposedly based on JD Salinger) gives his prodigy Jamal his own old work to type and tells him eventually in the process of re-typing something old, he’ll discover his own voice.
For some reason, we do re-type a lot of old classics, but our own voices are nowhere to be found in those live-streams. All we’re left with is mundane routine.