I read memoirs, or listen to people telling stories and I always have the same thought:
How on earth do you people remember all this stuff?
No, seriously. Even before having a kid seemed to sap all my mental faculties, I NEVER remembered my memories in such detail, if at all. I have vague, hazy, it-sorta-felt-like-this images and thoughts. How do other people do it?
Is it a writer thing, a bit of discipline and work that allows you to call this stuff back to mind? Or is that some people just remember more vividly than others?
I was thinking about this the other day after I finished reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (which I loved, as a total aside. Laughing so hard I was crying while trying not to wake up my husband sleeping next to me kind of love), because I started thinking that it would be nice–even just for myself–to write down some of my memories of growing up before I totally lose them. But then as I thought about it more, I realized that it’s not that easy to write, because everything I recall is buried under a fog of time. There are very few bright vivid pictures in my mind, very few stories that have details and dialogue and…firm edges and shapes.
Is that just me?
My great grandmother was a master story teller. I remember sitting at my mom’s dining room table with her & N.C. while she told story after story after story of her life, many of the stories pre-1930′s (and a good handful pre-1920′s!). She remembered details that were astounding. ASTOUNDING. She was in her 90′s and she had better recall than I did at 26. At one point, I think N.C. said something to me about how amazed he was at how much and how well she remembered. It blew my mind as well.
Maybe it’s that I don’t have that same kind of storyteller gene. Oh, I obviously can prattle on about whatever’s knocking around in my head on any given day, but I don’t have that gift of drawing someone into a time and place that existed before. My great-grandmother had it, that’s for sure. But me? I think I’m missing something here.
But I am thinking about trying. Again, maybe only for me, or for me to share with Jackson when he’s older and wants to know about when I was a little girl. But I’d like to see if I can make those memories take shape, even if they are just the simple stories of a typical kid growing up in the 80′s & 90′s. It’s not like I’m trying to write a memoir, but I’d like to try and write my memories.
What about you? Do you find it easy to recall details and specifics of your memories, to tell them as stories? Or are you like me, and they’re more fuzzy and feeling-y than firm pictures?