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 Post subject: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 14:20 
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Does anyone else have difficulty visualising the various settings of the Chalet School? I've never visited any of the locations and the descriptions just don't call up any "pictures" in my mind, although I love the books and have reread them many times. When I was having counselling once, I was asked to visualise a "safe place" in my mind and I just couldn't do it.

I've just discovered that I'm not alone (just unusual). A friend posted this article and apparently this phenomenon has a name: aphantasia. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34039054

I've wondered in the past why people like EBD, EJO and Tolkien spent so much time and ink on descriptions of surroundings, as they don't seem to contribute much to the story.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 14:43 
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I love all the descriptions of places. I find it quite upsetting that Armada chopped some of the descriptions of Innsbruck and the Tiernsee out of the paperbacks! The one place I find quite difficult to visualise is the Gornetz Platz. "Platz" to me suggests the main square found in most towns/cities, but the Gornetz Platz is supposed to be about 3 miles long, and I'm never quite sure what there is between the school and the San, or where the doctors' families' homes are in relation to everything else. I love lakes and mountains generally, though, and some of the descriptions of Tyrol in particular are wonderful.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 14:45 
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I can enjoy them, but I can't "see" them.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 15:09 
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I find it easier to visualise Howells than the Tiernsee or the Platz, probably because I imagine it looking like a fairly typical Miss Marple-esque village, complete with cavernous Vicarage, red telephone box and Plas Howell featuring as a sort of bigger and older Gossington Hall (minus the body in the library, of course). I'm planning to have a go at building the village with the Unreal 4 engine this year for a uni project.

The Tiernsee I just imagine as looking like the various photographs I've seen of the Achensee, but a bit smaller. The Platz I visualise as the school at one end and the San and St Luke's Hall at the other, with the dodgy mountain road at the San end and the big motor road at the school end. Adlersnest and Sonnenhofen are said to be about half a mile away from the San, and the Elisehutte is probably nearer the school end since it looks onto the meadow where they ski. I imagine the rest of the Platz residences and the shops and two churches being somewhere in the middle, along with the railway shed.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 15:18 
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Thanks for the link - interesting. If anything I'm in the opposite direction with books, and I have a pictorial memory. It's one reason why I often don't care for films or plays of favourite books, because no matter how well researched, they're often too far away from the pictures in my mind's eye - so it's not entirely an advantage, though it was useful to me in being a curator.

Isn't this one of the things that links to whether the left or right side of the brain is dominant in an individual?


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2015, 15:40 
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I have a terrible sense of place. I'm ok with remembering places I've actually been to - I can visualise them in my mind. But imagining fictional places or places I haven't visited is something I find incredibly hard. Similarly, I don't visualise people's faces at all. There are a few books that do give me a real sense of place - Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine books set in Shropshire, for example, but really not many. And yes, I find long descriptions of scenery tedious and irritating.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2015, 20:06 
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Noreen wrote:
Thanks for the link - interesting. If anything I'm in the opposite direction with books, and I have a pictorial memory. It's one reason why I often don't care for films or plays of favourite books, because no matter how well researched, they're often too far away from the pictures in my mind's eye - so it's not entirely an advantage, though it was useful to me in being a curator.

Isn't this one of the things that links to whether the left or right side of the brain is dominant in an individual?


That's interesting - films don't really do much for me and that may be part of the reason why.

I do find EBD's descriptions of the Tirol very evocative - more so having been there. And I can imagine Howells etc, though i'm not sure my imagination is on the same track as EBD's. I imagine the CS on the island to be a Tudor era house, which i'm sure it isn't- if anyone remembers the BBC adaptation of Narnia it's basically the Magician's house from Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

But I can't really imagine the Platz, mind you i've read very few of the Swiss books


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2015, 20:21 
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I have very vivid images of most of the places in CS, and indeed of the people - which is why I voted elsewhere for not wanting to see them in a film and spoil my own imaginings. I see images in every book I read, and in conversations with other people. I do enjoy the descriptions in books, both of places and people, and don't find them irritating at all. But then I'm a very visual learner, as opposed to auditory. I remember very little unless I see it in black and white, so to speak. Which can be quite a handicap! :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2015, 20:59 
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I can see Tyrol quite well when reading those books as it helps that I've been twice. I often forget where I am when reading them and think I'm there. Does anyone else find that? Or am i going off the point?!

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2015, 19:41 
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Tyrol and the English locations are incredibly vivid to me, I visited the Achensee a few years ago and it was almost exactly as I'd imagined it!

I do find it hard to visualise the Platz though, possibly because I've never actually been anywhere like it, but also because we don't see nearly so much of it as itplays a much smaller part than the other locations did.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2015, 19:51 
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I think this thread is demonstrating the point in the newspaper article - people like me, who don't have the ability to "see" pictures in their imagination, are very unusual.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2015, 22:16 
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Know what you mean, Sellenger, but I'm not entirely convinced. How representative of the populace is the CBB, or even more pertinent, that element of it which has posted in this topic? I know quite a lot of people who don't see pictures in their mind's eye. The article sounds to me as if the study of the subject is pretty much in its infancy...


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2015, 22:49 
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Is there anyone else on here who sees a person's name floating in the air, rather than their face, when they think of them?

I thought everyone did it - it's why I hate it if I know someone is spelling my name incorrectly - and then I discovered that hardly anyone else does it. I have so far only met two others in fact....

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2015, 22:59 
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Ooh, that's an interesting one, cestina. I wonder if my sister does that... we discovered a few years ago, to our total bewilderment, that she doesn't have a visual imagination. I must remember to ask her!

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2015, 17:27 
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Noreen wrote:
Know what you mean, Sellenger, but I'm not entirely convinced. How representative of the populace is the CBB, or even more pertinent, that element of it which has posted in this topic? I know quite a lot of people who don't see pictures in their mind's eye. The article sounds to me as if the study of the subject is pretty much in its infancy...


I think it is. Strangely enough, days of the week and some letters of the alphabet have colours to me. Today is Monday, so it's a creamy white colour, and tomorrow is red. The letter D is green and M is yellow, but H is brown. The worst day of the week is Thursday, because that's a sort of browny-yellowy-greeny colour. Does anyone else see things like this? I don't mean everything looks creamy white today, just that the word is somehow associated with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2015, 17:33 
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The colours for days of the week seems to be fairly widespread though I wonder whether everyone's colours are different?

I am sure there is some research on it by someone, somewhere....

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2015, 18:58 
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That's synaethesia/ synesthesia, Sellenger: there's always Wikipedia here.


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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2015, 20:14 
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Noreen wrote:
That's synaethesia/ synesthesia, Sellenger: there's always Wikipedia here.


Thanks - as with many things, I never realised that my perception was different from other people's. I really hate Thursdays because they're that horrible colour.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2015, 03:46 
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I can picture the Tyrol setting quite easily, but not the later settings.

The Tyrol school and its surroundings are described quite vividly - I can picture the lake, and the school buildings, and things like the alpine meadows, and hotels by the lake, and the local farmers and boaters.

The English setting is much more scattered. I can picture laneways and country roads, and the dormitories and the occasional study, but not really a good sense of the grounds or building.

Part of the difference here, I think, is that EBD is describing the Tyrol as a foreign location with lots of vivid detail, but assuming that her readers are familiar with the English countryside/villages/big houses, and can use shorthand like "Tudor House" assuming they'll fill in the blanks. I've been to Austria and mountain lakes in the Black Forest, but I've never been to the UK. (It's on the list - I want go for nice walks in the countryside, look at archeological sites and birds, and drink good beer in pubs in the evenings).

In the Swiss days, I think the surroundings just aren't described as vividly. I have a general picture of the Platz setup, but the school buildings are nebulous. By the end of the series it's really hard to picture, given that it would have to be pretty extensive, to handle classroom and living space for 450 students + mistresses + staff, including kitchens, dining hall, a separate library, a swimming pool, school chapels, a hall large enough to hold public entertainments in, playing fields, common rooms, practice rooms, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Does anyone else have difficulty
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2015, 09:14 
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cestina wrote:
Is there anyone else on here who sees a person's name floating in the air, rather than their face, when they think of them?


Me!! I do - and have never met anyone else who does :-) I'm also very good at spelling - I just see the words. When I was about 13 we were all told by a teacher to think of a tree and then put on paper what we had seen. I was the only one in the class to write the word 'tree'.

I have taught many hundreds of children over the last 18 years and can often still picture the handwriting of an individual, rather than their face.

I read that article too, Sellenger, and found it very interesting and relatable. However, I often describe myself as having a 'vivid imagination' because I make up stories rather than really seeing things. I am trying to picture my husband's face at the moment and I can't really see it - even though I have known him 22 years!

Relieved to find I am not as odd as I first thought! ;-)

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