Grace and I have been reading Harry Potter together for almost a  year now.  I read all seven books as soon as they came out, thoroughly enchanted by the world that JK Rowling created, and it’s been wonderful to revisit the story with Grace.  Last December I wrote about how moved I was to reconsider the Mirror of Erised and the deep power of love to both scar and heal.

We are nearing the end of book four now, and last night we read about the Pensieve.  The Pensieve is actually one of the images from Harry Potter that I’ve thought often of in the last years; like Diagon Alley, it’s one of the many, many ways that Rowling plays with language.  As a total word nerd, I adore these flourishes (aside: I have a Word document on computer called Words that is literally nothing more than a simple list of words I love).

Dumbledore (one of my favorite characters in all of fiction, EVER) tells Harry about the mysterious device, a stone basin full of swirling, silvery material:

“This?  It is called a Pensieve … I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind … At those times … I use the Pensieve.  One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure.  It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.”

And all of a sudden it occurred to me: isn’t this blog, actually, my Pensieve?  Isn’t this how many of us use our blogs?  This is a place I come to excavate my own thoughts.  Sometimes, certainly, I’m reacting to having too many “thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”  And, maybe more importantly, this blog certainly helps me parse these thoughts and identify patterns. Some of that is thanks to you, my incredibly thoughtful readers, whose comments and emails often form their own streams of meaning (witness the non-coincidental frequency with which I’m sent TS Eliot’s words).

It also occurs to me that there are certain people who play this role in our lives, places we can go to unpack some of the overflow in our mind, and who can help us draw connections and shepherd the patterns out of the chaos.  What – or who – functions as your Pensieve?

10 thoughts on “Pensieve”

  1. I love the idea of a blog as a Pensieve. Now that you put it out there, that’s exactly why I’ve always had some kind of book journal. I can’t trust my head to hold all the beautiful details of a story after I’ve finished it. It needs to be documented so I can come back to it later!

  2. I also like the idea of blogging as a Pensieve. I use my morning pages as a way to spill everything on the page. It’s creating a space where I feel ok to dump whatever is going on in my mind.

  3. Why yes!! How true. I really like the analogy and feel the same. I’m so grateful for my blog, and feel I’m turning to it more and more. I only hope I can truly continue to keep it flourishing and growing, because this place can be soul-satisfying. I worry sometimes though that it’s nit what I think (but I digress). I have few people in real life who I open up to as I do here in this world. Now that I have it, well I don’t want to lose it.

  4. This is such a great “a-ha!” moment. I love how my blog makes me organize my thoughts and allows me to express my feelings that otherwise might be difficult to do.

  5. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Our blogs ARE Pensieves (sp?). Wow, I love how you drew that parallel. (Incidentally, Harry Potter is my favorite series ever.)

Comments are closed.