Pull something up from Christmas that you didn’t commit to memory…. hmmmm. If some readers have been wondering “What’s up with the micro stories?” Well it’s for a couple of reasons. One, to see if I can tell stories at all.
Because being a good writer is not what makes a good book. It’s being a good storyteller…
And the other reason, is that I’m trying to repair my memory. Putting myself into the past, and “seeing” things again, to assess how much is there. See, the only way I have remembered events in my life, for my entire life, has been to repeat them in my mind or tell the stories to others as anecdotes. And then the challenge is to not warp details over time. And THAT is then a type of calibration for the memory itself.
I pride myself on my memory, not for pride’s sake but because it’s one of those things you are lost without. It can be difficult, very difficult when labeled as a “mental” and seen then as a “false” individual. Truth is that my sister has almost every memory restructured to recall different events than ones that actually happened. I don’t hold this against her, she just has always not been able to keep the memories. At one point, I found out that nothing was there for her, from the time period that we had with our parents. So five years and under, there’s nothing there at all, erased because of the trauma of their death.
So I do know, that memory can be different things to different people. They can be fractured, they can be vivid. They can be false, if restructured to be more comfortable.
Memory can be a tricky thing. With this exercise, which I will continue — am bringing up ACTUAL memories. Not events or stories I retold to myself, not events that I mentally flagged as noteworthy. Ones that I never committed to memory. I’m poking around in the old attic, to see if anything is still there….
And I don’t know, really, how others memorize or “remember” their lives. I always felt I didn’t have much room in my brain for hard data, and allotted more space for problem solving. I didn’t WANT to remember everything. So I classified events as they happened, and then only those noted were stored to recall later.
I don’t know if that’s how others work it. I just know that’s the only way I could ever do things and still remain functional. And like I said, the drawback on this method is to not “retell” the stories to yourself in a false way to make you feel better about the event. For VERY bad events, then, I also store the original view, the entire thing in technicolor! Haha…. which I guess is one way to put yourself into hell, when all you have left in life are your memories. But it also makes you leave those memories behind, and enjoy the actual present. The moment of touching a flower, of looking up at the sky and taking a wide, deep breath….
In some way or form, all memories are stored “in technicolor” as a part of the unconscious. Or there are shadows and glimpses of events, sort of fluttering around the cave like bats. And you can catch them. And that’s what I’m doing with the micro-stories: Going on a hunt for the bats in the belfry. The problem is that they will have holes in them, which you have to putty over with probability.
I imagine that is why some people recall events differently than others. And I quantify that difference and then am often hurt by what someone else considers probable. So these stories I am doing now, are patched. Some have more putty than others. Some are several events pasted together. It’s an exercise, and is giving me insight as to how others might work the process of recall.
The character of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, has an “eidetic memory.” But the amazing thing for me is not that the memory is THERE, it’s that he can narrate and rattle it off so quickly. Almost every memory and moment of life is still THERE for me, but it takes time to “visit” them. Some have more dust on them than others. Some are hiding behind the big neurons holding the major events.
And for whatever reason, I feel it’s time to look and see what’s there. Can be a wonderful thing, to recall something that you thought was long forgotten.
And that’s why I have decided to go on a few journeys into the past. Not the noted, extremely happy or extremely sad events that I already committed to memory, but the everyday events that I did not. What got lost between the cracks. The mundane. So I’m not TRYING to thrill you, as a reader–though I AM practicing at being a storyteller. Being a storyteller is a talent and a skill. I don’t know if I have the talent, if there’s any natural gift there at all.
But at very least, this series of stories will help me to understand myself better as a human being. And will help me understand memory better. Or I hope so. Maybe I’m missing something and need to find out where it landed.