I see; visual memories.

You may have noticed, as I did, that my memories of Reno and GRABAAWR  (See my Life Quilt stories) was made up of more pictures, literally, than text.

This brought to my attention again that I process life visually and spatially.

This is part of my visual intelligence and results in visual thinking.

Thinking about my abundant use old photos to depict memories held in the actual (and visual) Life Quilt containing my old tee shirts made by my friend Joanne, a quilter in Cedar City, UT, has erupted into acknowledging how many times I depended on a visual representation of my world.

  • All of my memories of my father are visual: riding in the model A, vaccinating pigs, him pulling my tooth while he was in bed, and the red records in the blue sleeves for the new console radio he bought. He died when I was nine.
  • I flunked out of chemical engineering at the University of Colorado in 1960 because I couldn’t visualize chemistry fast enough for testing. I’ve recently discovered that I’m as smart as anyone else, but I’m a slow thinker, because I have to see it. While other aspects of engineering encouraged you to construct concepts and reconstruct them for answers, chemistry relies on recall of concepts difficult to represent visually.
  • I once had to ask my wife to wait in the process of construction of a deck at our beach house until I could visualize how everything fit together. This single event was the greatest impetus for me to ‘get it’ that I was a visual thinker.
  • In my later years as a science, math, and computer, I relied almost solely on visual representation and manipulation for problem solving. I taught teachers and students Image Processing (thanks LuAnn and U of Az) and Systems Thinking as evidenced by its visual representation in the Stella computer program (thanks Luanne and MIT). Systems mean a lot to me: components, connections, interactions and boundaries which can be visually represented.
  • Recently I’ve found myself on a spiritual path that is filled with visual expressions: I write of buckets inside me filled with the Holy Spirit whom I’ve visualized as a man named Jeff.
  • I was asked to teach an ed media class at the U of o in my PhD program. It contained the concept of visual literacy, which much to the disappointment of my elementary librarian wife, I had no understanding of then. However, before I got the teaching assignment, I had to visualize the course in my head and then on paper using Venn diagrams.
  • Also my wife can tell you that I’m a very messy person, requiring a desk, bedroom, and life that is all ‘out there’ to see. If it gets put away I can’t find it.
  • Recently I discovered that riding a motor scooter has made me a better driver and diminished effects of vascular dementia, because of visual defensive driving and focus required.
  • People have called me a visionary, idealistic, impulsive, and at the same time very collaborative and empathetic.
  • In my leadership roles I am known to be full of fresh ideas but unable to carry through over the long haul. When I brought innovation it was through teaching teachers how they fit into the structure of education and the structure of the teachers union. My collaborative skills were valued too. At my last teaching assignment they called me the ‘glue’ that held the department to cooperating in planning science courses.
  • I used a note taking method called ‘Concept Mapping’ which visually represents concepts through drawing ways they are linked. Also an art teacher I worked with (thanks Joan) helped me make my journals more meaningful with drawings, diagrams, and color.
  • I finally told my wife after moving here to Corvallis after my retirement that I would do no more ‘some assembly required’ furniture because the Chinese diagrams didn’t make sense to me.

BTW: I’ve written this whole thing without pictures though it appears to me to be disconnected and without connections.

I can’t write my blog or stories without first visualizing the title, then I am compelled to write. It is now 2:14 am and I’ve awakened with this in my head awaiting its visual representation in the written word.

Get the picture?

– Small town boy


2 thoughts on “I see; visual memories.

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