Friday, March 22, 2013

Scintilla#13, Day 9

And here we are again. Scintilla is a limited time prompt project, so I'll eventually get caught up with the prompts, but I'm trying not to feel so pressured to get them done. These are the Day 9 choices:

1. Talk about where you were going the day you got lost. Were you alone? Did you ever get to where you meant to go?

2. What is the longest thing you know by heart (for example, a prayer, speech, commercial jingle, etc.)? Why did you learn it?

Apparently the Muse prefers the second option today, although I intended to write about the first:

I am good at memorizing and have committed many words to memory throughout my life, including a good bit of the Declaration of Independence once upon a time, just because it was there in my fifth grade classroom and I could.

Like many schoolchildren, I could recite Lincoln's Gettysburg address once upon a time. Of course we learned the Pledge of Allegiance (since we said it daily then) and I even remember having to relearn it with the words 'under God' which Wikipedia says were added by law in 1954. We also learned songs like "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner" by heart because we had music teachers in the schools then.

As churchgoers, we learned early to recite the prayers and Creeds, and sing so many hymns.  I have sung in many church choirs over the years, at least half-memorizing most of the anthems and cantatas and oratorios. I can still sing most of Messiah from memory (and I know my brother can too).

Singing is actually a really good method of memorization, and I can recite today a Robert Frost poem -- Choose Something Like a Star -- that I first sang back in high school. Frost is one of my favorite poets, though, and I have a few more of his works stashed away in memory. I still use them to focus on when I'm stressed or anxious. Snippets of other poems often come to memory, especially the works of Eugene Field which my mother read to me when I was very little. Sometimes I have to go find the rest of the words; usually I can remember most of them.

And then there are the plays.  The longest was probably A Flea in Her Ear in which I played Lucienne -- that was back in 1996 and I loved every moment of that experience, although I don't think I could recite much today. Steel Magnolias, on the other hand, I have been in three times -- once as M'lynn, once as Ouiser, and once as Clairee, and with only a little prompting, I could probably get through most of that play from heart -- truly from heart, as it is my favorite play and story.

Words stick in my head: stories, poems, plays, song lyrics -- and pop out in my writing, my speech, my thoughts. I try now to focus on meaning, not rote recitation, and that digs them in even more deeply. They sometimes can help me express a meaning, an emotion or situation, more clearly, and I like that I can usually find a quote or song to make my own words more clear to readers and listeners.

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