Pete, you expressed that perfectly! I think that exactly summons up letting an experience filter in by relying on senses and memory, rather than by putting in what you so succinctly sum up as ‘excessive effort’ to record it in words or photographs. For me as a painter what you describe exactly accords with my own experience. Interesting that it applies to poetry/writing too. A cross-disciplinary technique of working.

I went to Venice quite a few years ago and kept a diary while there. Apart from one occasion when I wrote about a painting while sitting in front of it, I waited until the evenings to try to recall my experiences in words. Years later I was able to find images of the paintings online to cross-check my writing with reality, and I discovered that those descriptions of paintings written from memory on the days that I’d viewed them, were invariably startlingly mis-recalled. Nevertheless, for a long time the descriptions had vividly conjured inspirational paintings for me while working in my studio. In fact the mis-descriptions of paintings had been much more useful than the images I later found thanks to Google! It’s the imaginative ‘processing’, I find, that makes the memory so potent. Once that has taken place, the actual experience, if it can be accurately recalled at all (or checked in a photograph) can seem quite wan.