I recently read a short story called The Memory Keeper by Amy Maroney. The main character Elena had an astute memory that saved her and her companion up in the Pyrenees Mountains. He has been attacked and to escape those hunting them, they entered a dark ice cave. She remembered how to navigate the cave from time spent there with her mother when she was a young child. She and her injured partner find the exit on the other side of the mountain after Elena leans on what her mother had taught her.
I too am blessed with a great memory. I believe I inherited it from my father’s side of the family. His cousin Irene could tell the most vivid stories based on her memory of past and shared experiences. She painted clear images and others within earshot could envision her stories.
As a writer, my memory has helped me because if I run out of story ideas, I can simply recall former events. Several authors write full and multiple novels or memoirs based on things that have happened in their lives. Similarly, every day is a story. Something as small as a trip to the grocery store can serve as the basis for a new storyline. There could be a chance encounter with an old coworker that can inspire a tale housed with happy memories.
It amazes me when people tell me they do not remember. I’m thinking, “But this is your life. You only get one and you do not remember parts of it?” Or maybe, it is selective memory. Let’s face it, some people remember what they want to remember. As Barbra Streisand sang. “What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.”
Just think if criminals like Lizzie Borden said, “I do not remember.” Hmm. She may have had a blackout, but her victims and their families truly and painstakingly remember. The bottom line is not remembering does not excuse the occurrence nor its induced sting. It happened!
So, for those with either selective memory or memory loss, try leaning on the artifacts from the past and perhaps they can help with the recall. Conversations, discussions and pictures can assist in remembering what truly took place in the past. Or apply the lyrics from the song, Try to Remember. It sings, “Try to remember and if you remember, then follow, follow, follow.” A good memory of instructions can save a life or two!
May 27, 2023
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