Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bruno Schulz: Wisdom from "The Street of Crocodiles"

     I recently found a book called "The Street of Crocodiles" by an author named Bruno Schulz, who was shot dead by Nazis on a sidewalk of the Polish village where he grew up.  Shulz's book tells the story of life in this village and describes what it was like growing up with a crazy father (a man who imported rare bird eggs and hatched them in his attic) and other odd characters like a half-wit girl Touya who slept on a mattress in some bushes at the edge of the village.  Before he goes on to describe these people and this place Schulz reflects on what makes certain memories stand out.  It's one of the best explanations I've ever read about why certain memories stick with us so strongly, while others just seem to disappear.  His insights go much deeper but I can't attempt to do them justice so I'll let him speak for himself.  

"I do not know just how in childhood we arrive at certain images, images of crucial significance to us.  They are like filaments in a solution around which the sense of the world crystalizes for us. They are meanings that seem predestined for us, ready and waiting at the very entrance of our life...