Tag Archives: story ideas

deja vu all over again

22 Sep

a few weeks ago, it hit me. that feeling, quick as a bird, that i have lived this before. it was intensely sensory as these things always are – this time touched off by the vivid blue of a dress a roommate had left to dry on the showercurtain rod. in that second i could take in all those things that are normally compressed from moment to moment: the claustrophobic feeling of the narrow shower compartment, the steamy heat of the water, the thick velvety feel of suds in my hands, and the colors – transparent black of the showercurtain, bars of blue and white tile and the dull chrome of the fixtures.

the thing that finally snapped me out of it was the recognition of it. is that how it is for you? for me, once i recognize the feeling as deja vu i am thrust back in to the present and filled with regret that the moment can be lost so easily. (imagine if you could keep running with it. if it were a story I was writing – and it might well be – the protag would only have to find a thread of previously lived experience and then just stay in that groove. yep, i’m gonna have to write that one. stay tuned.)

so the question: what is it? the truth is that no one knows. the scientific line is that it is an ‘anomaly of memory.’ perhaps your brain is storing information as a memory instantaneously alongside your experience of it. perhaps it is what happens when another, similar memory is suggested but cannot itself be recalled. another variant, from the matrix (1999), has a repeating black cat as a sign of a glitch in the system.

for a phenomena characterized by the uncanny experience of the expansiveness of time, by the way time seems to be multiple threads twining around us, it’s interesting that these explanations all put deja vu down as something confined to the present moment – your mind confuses memories as you are recalling them in the here and now; the system hicups and in that instant reveals itself to be a system.

well, what if deja vu means something closer to the feeling it brings about? because it does feel more important than the conventional explanations allow. so many interpretive avenues open up if you take deja vu as evidence of experience. depending on your perspective, it could be an encouragement to continue on the right path or a horrible warning to stop before you repeat previous mistakes.

how about you, readers? anybody have a novel take on deja vu? for my part, i decided to take my experience as a positive sign post (’cause really, what else are you gonna do way too early on a monday morning?), one that i’m hoping will give me some mileage as a short story…

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