Thursday, 11 April 2013

J is for ... J'AI OUBLIE


So today is the 11th of April, which must mean that it's the tenth day of the A to Z challenge.  I've decided to share my love of writing through this challenge, and hopefully introduce people to the world of Oulipo.  I first heard about Oulipo when I was at university, and I was fascinated by their approach to writing that I decided to delve deeper into the world of experimental writing.

In a nutshell, this group of writers likes to assign constraints to their work in order to push creative boundaries.  Not only is this fun to do (the process of writing something with a constraint really does open the mind), the results are brilliant.



*****

J is for ... J'AI OUBLIE
"The author presents a series of statements all beginning with the words 'J'ai oublié...', in overt reference to Georges Perec's Je me souviens (I remember).  In his introduction, he points out that forgetfulness only exists in a context of memory: noticing what one has forgotten - for instance, the name of a first piano teacher - implies the rememberance of other piano teachers and their names.  'Searching for what one has forgotten means ferreting out the hollows, voids, and absences of an otherwise healthy memory.'  So each item in the series of forgetting is appropriately accompanied by the mention of something the author also remembers about the fact or incident evoked." 
Oulipo Compendium ed. Harry Matthews & Alastiar Brotchie (London: Atlas Press, 2005) page 108 & 109.
*****

It's quite difficult to write about things you've forgotten, but here goes...

I've forgotten my last day at school (but I can remember my first day at school).

I've forgotten the names of most of my high school teachers (but I can remember most of their faces).

I've forgotten how old I was when I got my first CD (but I can remember that it was 'Up All Night' by East 17).

I've forgotten the name of my driving instructor (but I can remember that he used to have boxes of maggots on the back seat of his car).

I've forgotten the first film at the cinema I ever saw (but I can remember that it was at the cinema at Sparrow's Nest in Lowestoft).

I've forgotten most of my dreams (but I can remember most of my nightmares).

I've forgotten the date of my first date (but I can remember who it was with, where we went, and what I wore).

*****

I guess my memory is better than I thought!  

16 comments:

  1. Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge list to say "Hi"

    Really enjoyed your post honey!

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, and thank you for stopping by :)

      Delete
  2. Very interesting. So glad to have found your blog. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was nodding my head at most of those things.I remember my first day at school but not my last,how strange. You'll have me thinking about this all day now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :D That's the point of these memory posts; to get other people thinking. I just hated school so much by the end that I think I've blocked the last few years from my memory!

      Delete
  4. Oh, I'm sure there's lots of things I've forgotten over the years. That's why my photo albums and writings are so important! Fun post! Happy A-to-Z 2013! ~Angela, Whole Foods Living, http://www.wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :D There are probably more things I've forgotten. I just can't remember them! I'm so glad we have photos, as they jog my memory.

      Delete
  5. I remember my last day of high school -- graduation, 1974. I was so glad to get out of there. College was a thousand times better!

    Interesting topic for the challenge. MM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :D We don't have high school graduations in England. So our last day of school is the day of our last exam. I guess a graduation would have been more memorable!

      Delete
  6. This is such an interesting theme! I've been reading all the A-Zs that I've missed- some impressive stuff there! I really like the idea of things forgotten in the context of memory. I'll have to give this a try :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Apart from the writing side of this, trawling through old memories can keep the brain healthy. But certainly give it a try. You might be surprised with what you do remember!

      Delete
  7. This seems like a really useful idea for creating poetry and emotionally rich stories. And I love the line "I've forgotten most of my dreams (but I can remember most of my nightmares)." Seems like the beginning of a horror story or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yes, I hadn't thought about using that line to write a horror story. I'm watching a horror film now, so I might get some inspiration to write something spooky!

      Delete
  8. I've forgotten what you did for A (but I remember what you did for I)

    I've forgotten what it's like to use writing prompts (but I remember that it's fun)

    I've forgotten the first thing I ever wrote (but I remember the last thing I wrote <--this <--- wait, this <---- wait, this... aaaahhhh! I'm stuck in a loop forever....

    :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha, brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. But I don't want my posts to leave you stuck in a never-ending loop.

      *snaps fingers* You're back in the room :)

      Delete