Following on from my previous post, I've been thinking some more about how we learn. First there was an interesting conversation with Mrs Heathbank about the differences in our upbringing, and then a further nudge from Kimberly's little dig about a lapse of memory on my part. Now, it would be easy to dismiss such a lapse as a consequence of advancing years, but in this case it simply wouldn't be true.
I have always had trouble with remembering bare facts. I remember earnestly staring at vocabulary lists, committing them to memory only to have forgotten them by the next morning. Yet I gained such good marks in unseen Latin translation in my second year at Uni that I was given an exemption from this paper in the degree exam. You would think from that that somehow the laboriously learned vocab had stuck, but no. It was the ability to see the words in context and to make the imaginative leap to the meaning of a whole sentence, a whole paragraph, and the added facilty in reaching for an acceptably lucid and idiomatic expression of same that piled on the marks. Obviously using language in context was what I needed - and what makes me an inspired guesser when faced with a torrent of French in a restaurant.
And this is part of what we were discussing today. The difference between the kind of linear thinking that moves methodically through the stages of something to reach a conclusion, and the thinking that, as it were, makes a jump into the new idea and, having grasped its essentials, finds a means to convey it as cogently as possible. The latter is how I have worked in the past, and is still how I explore new ideas. I have a feeling that's why I write poetry rather than prose when it comes to imaginative writing: poetry is the keeper of the space between the words where the truth lies. And when I'm reading rapidly, I know I don't read from right to left, but focus on the middle of each line so that I take in the whole line in a one-er. This is not to say that this is in any way a superior way to acquire learning, but it's the one I'm stuck with.
So it's unlikely that I shall ever be able to remember J and P in a vacuum - though I may manage with Q....