Agatha Christie’s Memories. Thoughts on her life being part of an unknown play. Quotes on memory and soul. (April 2017)

Susan's Thursday morning note April 27, 2017
Agatha Christie's Memories. Thoughts on her life being part of an unknown play. Quotes on memory. 

Good morning!  Bright sunlight is playing it’s last April game with winter’s grip.  Tulips and robins helping the sun to win this struggle of sending the winter away permanently.  A few more days of battle then our spring birds and flowers will triumph, but obviously without a fight.  My angel of dawn holds her last bouquet of daffodils.  Beside me lies two volumes from the pen of Agatha Christie.  Her autobiography written over a fifteen year stretch.  Below are her thoughts on memory, on recollection, on who she perceives herself to be.  Following her writing are some of her quotes along with various other quotes I love on memory and the soul.  Our little birds outside peering in – what do they remember from year to year as they see me?  What memories are they singing of this morning?  They sing from the heavens encouraging us all to look up and find the moments that lift our souls to heaven.  To remember moments when we looked to the heavens and our moments where we became who we are today.  The moments we looked up and gained strength.

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography:

“Life seems to me to consist of three parts: the absorbing and unusually enjoyable present which rushes on from minute to minute with fatal speed; the future, dim and uncertain, for which one can make any number of interesting plans, the wilder and more improbable the better, since – as nothing will turn out as you expect it to do – you might as well have the fun of planning anyway; and thirdly, the past, the memories and realities that are the bedrock of one’s present life, brought back suddenly by a scent, the shape of a hill, an old song – some triviality that makes one suddenly say, “I remember…” with a peculiar and quite unexplainable pleasure.

What governs one’s choice of memories?  Life is like sitting in a cinema.  Flick!  Here am I, a child eating eclairs on my birthday.  Flick!  Two years have passed and I am sitting on my grandmother’s lap, being solemnly trussed up as a chicken just arrived from Mr. Whiteley’s, and almost hysterical with the wit of the joke.  Just moments – and in between long empty spaces of months or even years.  Where was one then?  It brings home to one Peer Gynt’s question: where was I, myself, the whole man, the true man?”

We never know the whole man, though sometimes, in quick flashes, we know the true man.  I think, myself, that one’s memories represent those moments which, insignificant as they may seem, nevertheless represent the inner self and oneself as most reallly oneself.  I am today the same person as that solemn little girl with pale flaxen sausage-curls.  The house in which the spirit dwells, grows, develops instincts and tastes and emmotions and intellectual apacities, but I myself, the true Agatha, am the same.  I do not know the whole Agatha.  The whole Agatha, so I believe, is known only to God.

So there we are, all of us, little Agatha Miller, and big Agatha Miller, and Agatha Christie and Agatha Mallowan proceeding on our way – where?  That one doesn’t know – which, of course, makes life exciting.  I have always thought life exciting and I still do.  Because one knows so little of it – ony one’s own tiny part – one is like an actor who has a few lines to say in Act I.  He has a type-written script with his cues, and that is all he can know.  He hasn’t read the play.  Why should he?  His but to say “The telephone is out of order, Madam” and then retire into obscurity.

But when the curtain goes up on the day of performance, he will hear the pay through, and he will be there to line up with the rest, and take his call.  To be part of something one doesn’t in the least understand is, I think, one of the most intriguing things about life. 

I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

So what I plan to do is to enjoy the plesures of memory – not hurrying…why do I call it a task?  It is an indulgence.  I once saw an old Chinese scroll that I loved.  It featured an old man sitting under a tree playing cat’s cradle.  It was called “Old Man enjoying the plesures of Idleness.”   I’ve never forgotten it.”

Quotes by Agatha Christie:

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.  It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about.  Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”

“An archeologist is the best husband a woman can have.  The older she gets the more interested he is in her.”

Quotes on the Soul and Memories:

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”  Mahatma Gandhi

“Memory is the scribe of the soul.”  Aristotle

“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”  Cicero

“Lord, keep my memory green.”  Charles Dickens

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”  Aldous

“I enjoy, occasionally, a day with my memories – these paintings having on the walls of my mind.”  Robert Brault

“I am a miser of my memories of you And will not spend them.”  Witter Bynner

“Therefore let the  moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure, when they mind
shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies...”   William Wordsworth
“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky;
there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”  Victor Hugo

Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning.  “I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”  The heavens.  Our gift.  The stars.  Our gift.  Our memories.  Our gift.  Our play.  Our part in our play.  The script will continually bring spring.  Birds singing.  Tulips.  Sunshine.  Little one’s eyes.  Music.  Eyes of those we only see in our minds.  Eyes we will see when we look across rooms today.  Our role in the play.  To look into the eyes and share strength.  To look to the heavens where the promise of peace comes from.  To hear the songbirds.  To notice.  As children notice.  Children see God.  They see the little gifts.  Susan

Latin for this week:  
tempus omnia sed memorias privat – Time deprives all but memories.
memoria – memory, remembrance, recall, recollection
memoratus in aeternum – forever remembered

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.  (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII, Shakespeare)

Omnia in mundo a scaena,
Omnesque homines solum histriones;
Habent exitus et introitus,
Unum in locum suum multifariam
Aniu quoque septem esse saecula

Works Cited:
Christie, Agatha.  An Autobiography, Vol. 1.  New York.  Collins, London, & Glasgow.  1977.