A Writer’s Memory

I was sitting with my soon to be 23 year-old son, filling out a loan application yesterday, and I told him I had to show him some pictures I have of Ella and Ava, two sweet girls we are distantly related to (two of my husband’s second cousin’s kids). Anyway, there was a painting incident at their home the other day: Ella (the older 4-year-old) deciding that she didn’t like the current and somewhat permanent color of her younger sister (of 2 or 3 years- I’m not sure), so she decided to paint her blue, mostly, with some bright red here and there. [I’d love to show the picture here but I don’t think it’s nice to show pictures of other people’s children on the internet without permission. I’ll work on the permission because it’s a great photo!].

So he asked me: ‘Did I do anything like that?’ 

“You mean paint yourself? No, but either you or Rachel (his sister) did the usually kid cuts their own hair thing.’  

You know – their bangs are getting in their eyes or just bothering them, and they have enough hand coordination to wield a scissors, so they decide to do the self barber thing and cut their own hair.

Maybe they both did it, but the issue this brought up for me is my poor memory for such things. I feel sorry for my kids in this way, because if I don’t have a picture of something or write it down, I usually can’t remember it. Unfortunately for them, I’m not one of those parents that can spout off the funny and interesting memories of their childhood, things most of us wonder about, I think. ‘What was I like as a kid? What stupid things did I do?’

What I am able to do, however, is remember general aspects about people and events. As most writers, I assume – correct me fellow writers if I have this wrong – I watch people and make mental notes of things they do and how they do it.  It’s what we writers call on when we’re writing about people and their relationships with others or with themselves. I think many times this is unconscious, but I do have a note pad in my car that I use to jot down things I see or hear that are particularly relevent to some writing task I might be working on at the moment. Notes are my friend.

So I’m curious – do other writers have this same issue, or is it just me?


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