Remembering, forgetting and recording

A person I sat next to on a flight once sketched this and then gave it to me.

A person I sat next to on a flight once sketched this and then gave it to me.

I sat on a flight next to a person who was working in her sketch book. We did talk a bit and we engaged in a collaborative drawing activity at some point. I did not note down the details and they currently escape me [or, perhaps, they have been forgotten]. At some point (I cannot be more precise), she pulled out and gave me one of the sketches she had made.

I expected to see some element of myself represented in the sketch as I was very sure she was looking up from her sketch to study me (rather than just make eye contact to recommence our conversation) while I was reading something on my laptop. However, she made no mention of it being a portrait and offered an explanation of it as a cyborg girl.

What prompted me searching for my record of this sketch was simply my acceptance of my all too fallible memory at the moment. I do not worry that I rediscover moments I had not been holding in my awareness while I am reading field notes or looking back through my email inbox to find something. I am not even concerned that I re-encounter ideas that were once so productive in my own musings when I listen to the words of others. There is something comforting about finding an external record of moments and ideas in my field notes, reading notes, old papers and drafts.

However, if all this content is simply recorded, I am not using it to ‘think with’. Should I be more concerned about this? Will the slow edits and changes to my dissertation draft stand up when I go back to check something or a memory is jogged? Will I have strayed too far by the time they are looked over by the eyes of friends, supervisors and [hopefully one day] examiners?

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