“I just got a rather nasty shock. In looking for something or other I came across the fact that one of my cats is about to be nine years old, and that another of them will shortly thereafter be eight; I have been labouring under the delusion they were about five and six. And yesterday I happened to notice in the mirror that while I have long since grown used to my beard being very grey indeed, I was not prepared to discover that my eyebrows are becoming noticeably shaggy. I feel the tomb is just around the corner. And there are all these books I haven’t read yet, even if I am simultaneously reading at least twenty…”— Edward Gorey (via calochortus)
Déjà Vu - the experience of being certain that you have experienced or seen a new situation previously – you feel as though the event has already happened or is repeating itself. The experience is usually accompanied by a strong sense of familiarity and a sense of eeriness, strangeness, or weirdness. The “previous” experience is usually attributed to a dream, but sometimes there is a firm sense that it has truly occurred in the past.
Déjà Vécu - is what most people are experiencing when they think they are experiencing deja vu. Déjà vu is the sense of having seen something before, whereas déjà vécu is the experience of having seen an event before, but in great detail – such as recognizing smells and sounds. This is also usually accompanied by a very strong feeling of knowing what is going to come next.
Déjà Visité - a less common experience and it involves an uncanny knowledge of a new place. For example, you may know your way around a new town or a landscape despite having never been there, and knowing that it is impossible for you to have this knowledge. Déjà visité is about spatial and geographical relationships, while déjà vécu is about temporal occurrences. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about an experience of this in his book “Our Old Home” in which he visited a ruined castle and had a full knowledge of its layout. He was later able to trace the experience to a poem he had read many years early by Alexander Pope in which the castle was accurately described.
Déjà Senti - Déjà senti is the phenomenon of having “already felt” something. This is exclusively a mental phenomenon and seldom remains in your memory afterwards. In the words of a person having experienced it: “What is occupying the attention is what has occupied it before, and indeed has been familiar, but has been forgotten for a time, and now is recovered with a slight sense of satisfaction as if it had been sought for. The recollection is always started by another person’s voice, or by my own verbalized thought, or by what I am reading and mentally verbalize; and I think that during the abnormal state I generally verbalize some such phrase of simple recognition as ‘Oh yes—I see’, ‘Of course—I remember’, etc., but a minute or two later I can recollect neither the words nor the verbalized thought which gave rise to the recollection. I only find strongly that they resemble what I have felt before under similar abnormal conditions.”
Jamais Vu - Jamais vu (never seen) describes a familiar situation which is not recognized. It is often considered to be the opposite of déjà vu and it involves a sense of eeriness. The observer does not recognize the situation despite knowing rationally that they have been there before. It is commonly explained as when a person momentarily doesn’t recognize a person, word, or place that they know. Chris Moulin, of Leeds University, asked 92 volunteers to write out “door” 30 times in 60 seconds. He reported that 68 per cent of his guinea pigs showed symptoms of jamais vu, such as beginning to doubt that “door” was a real word. This has lead him to believe that jamais vu may be a symptom of brain fatigue.
Presque Vu - Presque vu is very similar to the “tip of the tongue” sensation – it is the strong feeling that you are about to experience an epiphany – though the epiphany seldom comes. The term “presque vu” means “almost seen”. The sensation of presque vu can be very disorienting and distracting.
The following are the five best pieces of advice to do with writing that I have come across. Obviously there are many excellent tips out there and how useful they are depends on the kind of writer you wish to be, but these are the ones that made a big difference to me and seemed to make the most sense.