All I Want for Christmas ... from Memento Nora

Ok. We’re supposed to talk about what cool thing or idea from our own book that we’d like for Christmas.

I’m a little stumped.  I don’t know that I’d actually want the glossy things from Memento Nora.

For instance, there’s the little TFC (Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic) shop on every corner that dispenses Amelioral, the forgetting pill. You tell the man (or woman) in the white coat your darkest memory, pop a pill, and go on like nothing ever happened. You even earn Frequent Forgetting points every time you go.

Granted, this would be outstanding for true sufferers of Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome.  I even based the pill (and how it works) on current research in PTSD.  So, if you do have PTSD, that’s my Christmas wish for you: to be able to forget and get on with your life. 

For me, though, not so much.

I’d probably like to have Winter’s Garden in my backyard. Fourteen-year-old Winter Nomura builds a Rube Goldberg-ish kinetic sculpture garden behind her grandfather’s converted warehouse home.  It’s how she deals. She throws her considerable energy and talent into transforming junk in something weirdly marvelous.

Here’s Nora’s description of one of the pieces, the Shopping Bag Crab:

“Watch this,” Micah whispered, pointing to the next thing in the garden. It looked like a metal shopping bag lying on its side.

The water started to lap up onto the sand by the bag. Two slender black pieces of metal peeked out of the bag and felt their way to the ground. The feelers or legs crab walked themselves partially out of the bag, and the creature started to pull itself, bag and all, up the sloped walk. Its frenzied back-and-forth motion reminded me of something.

“Are those windshield wipers?” I asked, thoroughly impressed—and unnerved.

He nodded, a big grin on his face.

Something about the jerky, almost desperate crawl of the wipers dragging the shopping bag shell behind them made me uneasy. Then as the whole thing reached the top of its little hill, it stopped crawling, collapsed back into its shell, and slid back down to where it had started. It was like it couldn’t get anywhere with that bag on its back. 

I don’t have drawings (that look good, that is) of all of the pieces, but here are a couple of the inspirations for her sculptures.

This is Tinguely Fountain in Basel, Switzerland. The artist, Jean Tinguely, created this series of sculptures in 1971.

And, yes, this is a Honda Accord ad. For it, Honda put together a Rube Goldberg assembly of parts working together to start the car. (The windshield wiper part inspired the Shopping Bag Crab.)

The dog might not agree, but I think a kinetic sculpture garden would look great on my patio. Now I just need someone with the talent and energy to build it. (And that ain't me.)

Cool art work aside, my question for you guys is would you take a forgetting pill that only erased selective memories? Or, if that's too deep for the holidays, what kind of secret garden would you create if you could build or grow anything?

Angie Smibert
Memento Nora
Marshall Cavendish, April 2011


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Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hmmm...that's a tough question. If it truly ONLY erased particular memories, maybe. Not sure. :-)

Angie Smibert said...

It is a tough question, and it's basically the crux of the book. btw, I added a more Christmas-y-ish question above.

Lauren M said...

I probably wouldn't take a forgetting pill. I think surviving tough times makes you stronger; if you didn't remember what you'd gone through, you'd be right back where you started!

If I could grow anything in a secret garden, it would probably be books. Or cash. We could all use a money tree! ;)

Unknown said...

I WOULD take a forgetting pill but only for the thoughts that are not worth thinking that I get hung up on anyway.

My secret garden would have all sorts of colorful collages that inspire me to create.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a lucky person in that I had a terrific childhood, so I wouldn't want it. I might want it for some of the kids I've worked with over the years though. they could use it.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I would have liked a pill like that at one point in my life, but not now. Even though traumatic memories don't ever go away, if you can get the right help, they can be instrumental in real healing, which I bet is one of the themes in your exciting book. Love the cover and concept, btw.

That second video by Honda is amazing. I mean, wow. It makes me actually want to learn how to do math. ;) If you ever get that kinetic sculpture garden, I hope you'll post videos often.

wordver: promzzle- your prom, but with sizzle.

Angie Smibert said...

Thanks for sharing that, Katrina.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take a pill to erase memories because it all shapes who I am, and I am happy to be that person. If I had erased those experiences, I would also have prevented the personal growth that resulted from them.

What a cool fountain! I am going to have to check that out next time I am in Basel!

I'm really looking forward to the release of Memento Nora - it's one of the books by debut authors that I've selected for my participation in the Story Siren challenge for 2011.

Heather (Book-Savvy) said...

I'd for sure take the pill. As long as I know it will work solely on the memories I choose to forget and not effect anything else. I think everyone has had a traumatic experience that has changed them to a degree and I know I'd feel like I would be erasing a weakness by forgetting some things.

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