Bright Gems Amidst the Fog of Memory

I was thinking yesterday about scenes. And how there are just some scenes that whabam! stick with you forever. Like when Walter Hartwright first meets Anne Catherick in The Woman in White. No? Just me? How about that scene in Oliver Twist. Yeah, that one in the orphanage. Please sir, etc. Or in The Phantom Tollbooth when time flies. TIME FLIES! Brilliant.

My favorites, though, are the scenes that I remember without remembering what book they came from. For instance.

This book was a fantasy. One of those girl-witch-finding-her-power fantasies. And there was another main character, probably a boy, because I think this scene was from his point of view.

All I remember of the book is this image near the end. The Bad-Guy-Wizard is standing in like a circle of magic, untouchable, and the boy/POV character is standing/sitting in front of him, at his mercy. Then girl-witch-finding-her-power, forgotten at the side, crawls out of the bushes towards the edge of the circle of magic. BoyPOV sees her, and GWFHP, on her hands and knees, looks at him, shakes her head, and crawls onward to disturb BGW’s circle of magicalness.

Something about the crawling and the headshake are stuck in my head. I could not tell you why for love or money. It’s just a striking image.

The other main stuck-in-head-with-no-source scene is more of a concept, really. It was an awful sci-fi book, that’s really all I remember. (Boy, I read some quality books when I was a kid. Don’t take these two examples as representative, please. I mean, they are, but we can pretend like they’re anomalies.) In this sci-fi book there was some horrible mutative disease. But nobody cared, it didn’t affect anyone “important.” Then one of the main doctors (there were a lot of doctors, I recall) contracted a new, mutated form of the disease–right before he was due to go to a Senate hearing of some sort to beg for research money from a bunch of people who didn’t want to give it. And he didn’t tell anyone. The book ends with him flying off to government headquarters, with plans to infect every Senator he shakes hands with, to force them to care.

And I was like Wow.

That is literally all I remember about each book. Amazing that a writer can create such a whabam moment and not pull it off for the entire novel itself.


So, two questions. 1. Does this ever happen to you? If so, give us the scene! and 2. Do you recognize either of these books, and if so PLEASE TELL ME. It is driving me to MADNESS.



  1. Marian said,

    May 9, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    The one about the doctor infecting everyone reminds me of a short story by Ray Bradbury called “Fever Dream”, about a boy who’s recovering from a mild sickness and who realizes that a far more sinister infection is taking over his body. He fights it, but at the end, he’s a walking carrier without any will of his own. He shakes the doctor’s hand, and hugs his parents and pets the canary. And waits eagerly to go back to school.

    Very scary idea.

  2. ~grace~ said,

    May 9, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    ooooo that sounds cool. I love Bradbury. that would be so scary.

    *runs off to add a Bradbury book to her summer reading pile*

    thanks for stopping by, Marian!

    and I like how you remember the canary. THAT is the kind of detail I love.

  3. jerrywaxler said,

    May 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Grace,

    I don’t remember either of these books but I like your writing tone – you have a lovely way of words falling out onto paper – very effective and engaging for me, the visitor and reader looking for a tiny window into someone’s mind to pass a few moments, and not to mention maybe meeting someone and learning about writing. On Absolute Write you asked me to say what I thought, so I guess that opens the door to suggesting you edit just a bit to make it a little easier to follow you – that GWFHP thing took me TWO READINGS! I think a smidge of editing could have made it even more fun than it is.


  4. ~grace~ said,

    May 9, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    oh dear, two readings? that’s not good. thanks for letting me know! I am definitely open to critique, especially when phrased so nicely. :-)

    I tend to be a very “as-it-flows” writer, not so much with the revising thing. a writing teacher pointed this out to me once, too. you’d think I would learn, huh?

    thank you for coming by!

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