word association

pale pink outdoor cyclamen

Memory is an odd thing. And linguistic memory is perhaps as odd as any.

I know I should remember the name of the flowers in the photo as I’ve grown plenty over the years, but every time I see them I have to sort through and reject a few other words that come to mind first.

They definitely aren’t coelacanths.

And I’m fairly sure they have nothing to do with Clytemnestra.

But for some reason, the plant name is stored in the same area of memory as those two words, which always come out first.

As I say, I’ve grown plenty of them. I know there are indoor and outdoor varieties and they don’t like to be over-watered. In the last flat I lived in, I had a small collection of them in pots on window sill, where they remained beautifully bright all through the winter.

Deep pink and white cyclamen in pot on interior windowsill

They go dormant in summer and then return in the early autumn, which is presumably why I found a patch of pale pink blossoms this morning sprawling wild under the trees in the little walled garden that abuts the churchyard.

I’ve observed before that I sometimes store words in groups that share sounds, letter clusters, metrical patterns or other non-semantic similarities. So it looks as if I’m looking for a word derived from the Greek, beginning with the letter “C”.

Aha!

They must be cyclamen!

pinkish-mauve outdoor cyclamen
 

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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