Yes, I know I’m absent-minded, very absent-minded, but actually my mind is absent at all… it’s just very full! For example there is what you might call my front mind which is everything I’m doing right now… and slightly to the side of my front mind is the thoughts of everything I should be doing, will/maybe doing/ought to do – this can range from finishing all the jobs I’ve started and wandered away from, like the ironing, like finishing tidying this room, to actually papering a room which we have bought the paper for (last year…) to finishing off the MOOC I’m doing.

Now there is also my back mind, with all the memories of things I’ve done… that’s quite integrated and blurry along the edge where it meets my front mind; hovering above my back mind are all the dreams and imaginings and thoughts and feelings I had in the past… and I daresay if you excavated beneath my back mind you’d find a subterranean mind and who knows what lurks there! There are literally thousands, if not millions of little trails and paths between my front and back mind… so for example if I meet someone I was a t school with, an image of them plus lots of memories and stories, zips along to my front mind and attaches itself to the person I’m with now.

Somewhere, and I sort of feel that these two minds are situated to either outside edge of my whole mind, drifting between front and back, and rather tenuously linked. These two are rather different but similar; one is like an archive of things which have just been pushed further and further back behind newer stuff – I often rifle through this archive on quiz nights, trying to find out an answer I know but which has got lost among the dusty piles of other knowledge.The other one is like a lost property office, and all sorts of random things lurk there, unattached… for example I have a really clear memory from when I was very young, visiting some friends or maybe distant relatives of my parents. Although I was small at the time it still seemed a small room, with an open fire. It was quite dimly lit, a sort of yellowy light, so could this old place be lit by candles or lanterns or gas lamps? As well as my parents and the person/people we were visiting, we were with some other people – my aunty and uncle? My godparents who were close friends of my parents? My parents cousins? The thing which surprised me at the time, as a little child who lived in a bottom floor flat, was that there was a small wooden door beside the fireplace, and when opened revealed stairs! I was so surprised ad filled with wonder I’ve never forgotten it, but I’ve forgotten everything else… so this poor unattached memory sits there, waiting perhaps without hope, to be connected.

There is also, perhaps a bit like a mezzanine above my back mind, of stories I’ve been told by other people, my parents, relatives, friends from long ago – true stories, their stories – and also books I’ve read, films and TV programmes I’ve watched; quite often what is stored here is a bit muddled up with the back memory, as if files or books have been put back in the wrong place.

I forgot to mention, between the back memory, the archive and the lost property office, are folders of stuff which are never properly filed… were they things I dreamed or imagined? Were they things which I invented as a child and accidentally remembered as true memories? were they just random bits of unattached stuff which got shoved here as there was no other proper place to file them?

Now somewhere – and it’s a bit like a trolley of stuff which can be moved, are my actual stories. So at the moment, a lot of my front brain is very involved in the Radwinter stories, my genealogical mysteries; I am writing them in the first person, as Thomas Radwinter my main character… so inside my head I also have Thomas’s brain with his front brain, back brain, archive, lost property office, mezzanine, and random folders… and there is something a little like a laboratory or factory, creating the story line… There is also the Portbraddon story I am editing and revising – the story of a family whose unity and closeness is broken when their grandmother dies…  Fortunately both these stories (and many others I have written) are set in a fictional area around a seaside town called Easthope, and a small city called Strand… which on the one hand makes things easier, but on the other hand in the location finder/maps/geographical area of my front and back brain is an extra totally fictitious place alongside the place I live now and other places I visit regularly…

So all in all, I guess it maybe isn’t surprising that I forget to go somewhere, do something, buy something, ring somebody, write to somebody… and that is without the added complication of my procrastinationitis…

Oh, while I remember… have you read my e-books? If not, here’s a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

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