Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Perks of Being a Bad Rememberer

My memory is $#!T.

There. I said it.

I mean, you guys, it's bad.

Some things I remember with absolute clarity*. But other things? It's like peering through the thinner parts of a strand of cotton candy. I can see what I'm trying to remember, but only through a kind of sticky haze.

Which, yanno, to put it lightly, sucksssss.


But this actually isn't a post to whine or lament about that cotton candy piece of my conscious. Because here's the thing: there's one area of my life where having a shoddy memory actually works to my advantage. And it's one of my favorite areas.

Here's a hint:

Yep. BOOKS! Don't get me wrong, I hate when my friends start discussing books and, even though I've read them, I can't really contribute much because I can't really remember much. Character names. Secondary plots. Character motivations and reactions. (I could go on and on.) Even with books I've loved.


It also means I get to reread my favorite books over and over again without their stories ever losing their sparkle.  Because of my crapy memory, reading the first page of a book for a second time is like slipping back into an amazing dream that's gone a little wispy around the edges--and sometimes in even more so in the middle.

It's awesome, getting to rediscover so much.

It's the one area I feel bad for people with amazing memories. Sure, they still reread for pleasure--but it's never as close to the first time for them. Because they remember too much. Which is something I rarely have a problem with.

Of course, I do remember some things. Endings, major plot twists . . . Those are almost impossible to forget. But man I love that second reading when little forgotten details jump back out at me. Secondary characters reshape among the pages. Plot threads begin to weave back together. I get to re-fall in love with the love interest. I'd never complain about that. I get a second, third, fourth (all right, maybe not fourth . . . by the second or third readings, usually books are more cemented in my mind) chance to love books like the first time I read them. 

And here's something else about me:

Just watch, now that I've admitted how bad my memory is, it'll suddenly get awesome. That's how things seem to work with me. I tell someone I'm one way--because I am--but then I end up changing, either down the road or right away. It's all very confusing, but kinda makes sense at the same time, I guess. Like when you evaluate yourself in some way, you become more attuned to that aspect. How can it not change or shift in some manner with all that attention? That's why I try not to make blanket statements about myself, because they never end up staying the same. But in this case? I'm hoping for it. :) 


*I felt the need to add that statement 1) because it's true, and 2) I suddenly got nervous. What if I'm called to witness something in court someday and somebody uses this post to discredit what I say?!  So let me clarify here: I don't ever lie about what I can't remember. 


  1. This is a really cool perspective! I am a bad rereader, and I think part of it is that I remember too much about books after I read them. Of course, some are worth rereading regardless. :)

  2. Haha...I love how you put a positive spin on 'empty brain.' That's what I call my lack of memory. It's so bad, sometimes. Stupid, really. I mean, I do have four kids clogging up all the to-dos and dids and would-like-to-dos in my head. But they haven't eaten all my brain function yet. At least I hope not... ;D

  3. Sara. I'm starting to get a little freaked out by how much we have in common. This post could totally have been written by me. My memory is horrible, especially when it comes to books and movies. I just had to read a synopsis of DIVERGENT because I'm about to start INSURGENT and can't remember a bit of what happened in the first book. How is that possible?! Anyway, great post, lady. Looking forward to more! :)

  4. I'm weird (go figure!) with memory because my dad was That Dad who video-taped all the concerts and plays and sporting events, etc. in our town. So, because I had the opportunity to relive things through that, I'm still the go-to girl in my hometown group of friends whenever they can't remember events. AND OH, how I wish I could forget!!

    However, with books, unless they really blow me away or unless I've read them a bazillion times, I don't remember tons of little details. I think I read too fast!

  5. I'm so the same way! Re-reading books is one of my fave things, because I forget so many of the plot points and details. So fun!

  6. I forget stuff too. All sorts of things, important to-do things. I remember them in a panic when I'm finally in bed and ready to sleep. Very stressful.

    I make lists. Then I forget to take the list.

    Miss you, love you.

  7. This is really interesting. I think I am kind of like this as well. I usually have a really good memory, even for minor details. Except when it comes to books and movies. Sometimes I'll quiz myself on details or endings just so I don't forget!

  8. I'm a bad re-reader, too, but this is because I have the memory of an elephant... I am really good at remembering people's birthdays/jobs/family members, even years and years later. I read books in a day and can tell you every little detail (LOL - my parents used to test me on this...they didn't believe me that I'd read it).

    things I forget......when I walk into a room...... why I walked into that room. LOL!!

  9. I'm exactly the same way about books. In fact, as soon as I finish one, I forget most of what was in it--even the characters' names. My memory is pretty good otherwise, but with books...horrible.

  10. Confession: I have a terrible memory for people's names I've just met. I can remember their kids name, their dogs name, their occupation . . .but not their name! Ugh!

  11. I used to be really good about remembering all the deets about books i read, but lately, not so much. I don't know if it's just because I'm reading faster or what. Maybe i'm just getting old...

  12. I'm like this too! It will depend on the book, but lots of times I read books, love them, and promptly forget what happened. It is nice to be able to reread books with "fresh" eyes! I'm also terrible with names like Lindsay above.

  13. I'm exactly like this. Fail memory is fail. But, the benefit is that I can reread a book I can't remember much about and enjoy it all over again.

  14. I'm glad I'm not the only one. My daughter remembers story plots and characters way better than me.

    And embarrassingly, I don't see my clients too much and often don't recognize them by face later. Wish I could figure that out.

  15. I'm EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. I'm actually glad to read this because I always feel like something is wrong with me because I can't remember anything.

  16. Ha! This is exactly why I have a basement full of old books. Someday I'll be able to reread them, and they'll all be fresh to me again. ;)

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Yay! I love when you have things to add :)