Book of Memory: Riga Chapter

Memory: the space in which a thing happens for the second time.

~ Paul Auster
The Book of Memory


Back in February 2017 I was reading Paul Aster’s: The Book of Memory and many things there have triggered my own memories and interpretations. Somehow it really triggered particular memories from one of the places we used to live in Riga. Maybe because it was the longest time ever I lived in one place without moving – for 15 years we managed to stay in one place. Otherwise it was and still is a constant change.

Memory as a room…

Memory as a cognitive map.. A map of the physical living space. That room, that apartment, that inner yard of the house, that street and how the cognitive map of the world was slowly expanding and getting bigger. Exploring the neighborhood..

This map as a representation of the borders of that world. The physical space of memory – those streets were walked on over and over again.. each turn, each crossing, each yard was thoroughly explored… Many different people come to mind.. Many different events were unfolding there…

The space of the memory – how does what we remember determines who we are? … The eternal question of identity and how it is shaped.. The role of the autobiographical memory and narratives…

Trying to make sense of a subjective narrative with an asymmetrical timeline

~ Patti Smith / M Train

If a memory is the space where a thing happens for the second time, then what is the map representing a path a girl walked to school? Same streets, same crossings, same traffic lights… Repetition without being a repetition… And at the same time total impossibility to walk those same streets ever again…

Currently in Riga I walked the same route – from the house we used to live to the school I used to study in…

So many changes! Some wooden houses that used to be livable in the late 80’s, for many years in mid 2000’s were standing closed and I was afraid city will demolish them. However, currently they are being renovated and seems that people are living in them again.

Some other houses have disappeared. I remember a house on the corner with tall windows where whoever was living there was always displaying some handmade objects – characters made from pine cones and other forest finds. That house is long gone and currently there is a totally new tall building standing… Is the street then still the same? The physical space has transformed since I last walked that route… I now wonder who was that person who was making those figures and where she / he is now? What memories do they have?

In the space of memory, everything is both itself and something else.

 ~ Paul Auster
The Book of Memory

I’m not really sure where I am going with this, but it is an interesting process to explore… You can follow my visual notes here: #bookofmemoryrigachapter

Books in my life

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