Mary Beth Writes

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

We are witnessing powerful people say what they said and did when lies, chaos, and reckless power were flying. Most of the witnesses have been staunch Republicans; they were and are people who pride themselves for their morals, we see them picking their way through situations where their ethics could have and often did fling them from power. This is Shakespearean stuff.

Some of you likely know and follow Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College. Her clear daily essay about history and politics is good; I learn new facts and perspectives constantly. Here’s my M.O. lately. When I want to learn what’s going on in the world, I check a few particular tweeters to see what they are commenting about. My short list includes Richardson, Angry Staffer, and Kashana.

So this: During the Hutchinson hearing HCR tweeted that Cassidy Hutchinson described some of the incidents she witnessed as if she was re-seeing the moment while she talked. She sees the details; she slows down to check her memory for who was present. Richardson comments she used to recall events that way also.

I replied that I did also and others have agreed. Particularly women. When a moment is strong, some people seem to “freeze” the visual around them at that moment. They see color of the walls, what they were wearing, what other people were wearing or doing. They see the way the light comes into the room (that’s me) or they see the ketchup dripping down the wall. Most of us have a way of logging into and then keeping strong experiences. I suspect, though I’ve never read anything to suggest or support this – I bet young women remember scenes and details particularly well. When one has less power and more to lose, it’s a survival skill to see clearly where one is in order to recognize this fraught situation and thus to avoid this danger in the future.

I may be making this up. Or not. But as Cassidy Hutchinson replied to questions, I was struck by how often her eyes kicked into that far-off gaze of a person revisiting a memory in order to get the details right.

No point here other than what humans do as they live through crises is interesting.

Apparently Mark Meadows sits on his sofa and scrolls.

What do you do when a moment is fraught?

What are you doing these fraught days?

What do you think you will remember years from now?

 

Comments

I’ve heard that we remember things more clearly when there is a strong emotion attached to it. Being an emotional child means I remember so much. I bet the trend of young women having vivid memories has something to do with the way girls and young women are socialized to be allowed more emotional expression than boys and young men. It’s a gift they didn’t know they were giving us.
Mary Beth's picture

I've met people who have barely any memories, often older (than me!) folks - and I wonder if that indicates the ordinary things most of us remember (where did you grow up? what was your house like? who was your fav teacher?) were so toxic their minds obliterated them. How we remember and what we remember is fascinating and weird. Literally my first memory is light spilling from the kitchen in the house we moved away from when I was four. And someone was holding me.

Sometimes I think I don’t have very many memories but for me this just means I need to quiet my mind and think. When I remember a particularly strong memory, I remember my surroundings. The surroundings are as clear as the strong memory.

I remember everything, from the emotions to the minutiae. My ability to remember is part of who I am, and often informs my future.I believe it also has made me a more empathetic person. Hard to explain what I mean. On another note, I am always the family member that is called to verify information, dates, and family history. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

I love this and I know what you mean. Since I'm the only one left of my childhood family, sometimes people ask me about "back then". I guess over the years I have had a lot of internal conversations abut what was true and what was family myth. Historical criticism was a big part of what I learned in seminary - and applied to one's own old stories, is just as interesting.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

The Lies We Live By

2/20/2024

Aristotle wrote a lot of important stuff, very little of which I’ve read. But this Aristotelian idea is cool and I don’t know why we are not taught this in high school. It helps untangle the importance of what we read and watch.

Fat Tuesday & Valentines Day & Ash Wednesday (says it all)

2/9/2024

I think today has to be a Three Things. You probably don’t even know I have Three Things scaffolding in my secret writing toolbox of organizational tools, but I do. Sometimes it’s how thoughts present themselves, you know? Things to say, but not for too long.

(Now that I've finished and read what I wrote, I guess this is five things but some days, in our expanding universe, the math just works this way,)

Successful & Failed Artists

 2/7/2024

Last week I finished reading Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard. (I discovered this book via Librarian of Burgos Instagram because I am her fangirl now.)

If you like to read a book that has a recognizable plot of sympathetic characters moving forward through a problem to a solution– you will likely not enjoy this novel. Heck, I’m not sure if I ‘enjoyed’ it.

Animals of Winter

1/25/2024

Last week I invited you to submit pictures of animals who are visiting your life these days.

The Republic of False Truths

1/19/2024

I set a goal for this year to read one translated modern novel every month. I’ve been following ‘Librarian of Burgos’ on Instagram and this woman keeps hyping and explaining books I’ve never heard of, which intrigues me mightily. I think she might be a reader’s reader. Anyways, she is European, has transcendently luminous skin plus several master’s degrees and a doctorate in history. Sometimes she even recommends books that are not, sadly she says, not yet translated into English. Cracks me up.

Who's In Your Backyard?

1/19/2024

It’s been a wowser of a wintery week. We had the deep and blowing snow last Friday which turned into the heavy-as-concrete snow on Saturday which turned into a deep and frozen crust on Sunday - and here we still are. Last week’s snow still limns the trees and branches. A foot of snow still covers every roof. When I walk (why yes, I’m still going out for strolls) it’s a matter of life and limb navigating the jagged piles between sidewalk and street. I do use my “Alpine” walking stick these days.

Change is coming but not today.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent aging Alaska animals anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine aunts baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM Blue BookReport books Boxing Day boy scout Bread breakfast BreakfastClub BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus climate change clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote crime CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering deer democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep distraction dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Echoes Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana ferns firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Food Pantry Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fungi fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls GNTL gorgons goulash GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola Grief groceries Guadalupe Guatemala gum guns Hair happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart heaven HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HowCrowGotOutofJail humor hurricane Ice Cream idiosyncrasy igloos impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus jewelry JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich Jump justice Karen kites ladder Lady Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len lies Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mounds mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha NAMI Nancy Drew Newfoundland New Mexico New York City Nomadland nope observation OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples pizza poetry Preaching privacy procrastination Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism reading recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage romance Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez satellites sci-fi ScottSimon sculpture Seasons Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet St. Louis staining stars stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stream monitoring stress SUBSTACK Survival swim Talent taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou therapy ThreeBillBoards Three Thing Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant Umbrella UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning Vocabulary vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria Won! Wonder words Xeriscape Yellowstone Zebra
Ad Promotion