Thursday, July 30, 2009
Memories Are Made of This
by Guest Blogger Hank Phillippi Ryan
See? I remembered to write this blog. I did that by having my email system send me a reminder. Every day. I’d hit the reminder snooze, and forward it to the next day, and finally it arrived at today, and now I’m here.
Why not just make a list of things you need to do, my husband suggested? Then check them off as you do them.
A list? Are you kidding me? I already have lists, and I have lists of lists, and if I put one more thing on the lists, there’s about a fifty-fifty chance I’ll get to it. I do look at the lists, I do rely on the lists, and they do work.
But for some things? Forget about it. Some things I remember *my* way.
Jonathan and I constantly battle (in the most loving of ways of course) about my methods. He thinks they’re—unnecessarily complicated. I think they’re—effective.
For instance. We checked into our hotel one day recently and the room number was 626. (I’m notorious for forgetting hotel room numbers. I mean, it’s hilarious.) So I said—“Okay, 626. I’ll remember that because it’s on the 6th floor, and there are 2 of us on the sixth floor. Six two six.”
My husband said “Why don’t you just remember 626? Why do you make yourself remember all that extra stuff?
“Because I won’t remember 626 without context,” I said. “It has to make sense, or it’ll just evaporate with the rest of the things I’ve forgotten.”
When I first met Jonathan, I had to remember his phone number. 968-2523. Easy. As I explained to him: “We met in September (the ninth month) and you’re 68 years old, and your kids are 25 and 23.”
That was almost the end of our courtship. “But I‘m not 68,” he said. “I’m 56. And my kids aren’t 25 and 23, they’re 30 and 32.”
I knew that, of course. But I shook my head. “Reality doesn’t matter,” I replied. “It’s just how I’m going to remember the number.”
I can’t really describe the look on his face. “Wouldn’t it be easier to remember the number, instead of all that extra--and incorrect—stuff?”
Nope. I remember it *my* way.
ROY G. BIV, you know that right? The colors of the rainbow. Every good boy deserves favor: (all together now) the notes on the G clef. My very elegant mother just served us nine pizzas. The planets. (Okay, that’s including Pluto. Sue me. ) It works, right?
PRIME TIME is the first of the Charlie McNally Mysteries, then FACE TIME, then AIR TIME. Reverse alphabetical order. When DRIVE TIME comes out in February, I’ll have to think of something new. Does PFAD mean anything? Pretty fine and dandy. Okay, now I’ll remember.
There are other methods besides acronyms. If I need to remember to take the dry cleaning in, I think: When I touch the back door, I’ll remember to get the laundry. This method is definitely successful. The downside is if I go out the front door--then it doesn’t work. The other downside is that EVERY time I go out the back door, I think: dry cleaning. I used to wonder about the old “tie a string around your finger” thing. Now, I get it.
But I think we can all make our own ways to remember things. If it works, it works.
Do you have any memory tricks? Tell us! (If you remember them…)
Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is currently on the air at Boston's NBC affiliate, where she's broken big stories for the past 22 years. Her stories have resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in refunds and restitution for consumers.
Along with her 26 EMMYs, Hank’s won also won dozens of other journalism honors. She's been a legislative aide in the United States Senate (working on the Freedom of Information Act) and at Rolling Stone Magazine (working with Hunter S. Thompson).
Her first mysteries, PRIME TIME (which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, was a double RITA nominee for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense Novel, and a Reviewers' Choice Award Winner) and FACE TIME (Book Sense Notable Book), were best-sellers. They were both just re-issued from MIRA Books, and are in bookstores now. The next in the series are AIR TIME (MIRA Sept. 2009) (Sue Grafton says: "Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. This is first-class entertainment.") and DRIVE TIME (MIRA February 2010.) Her website is http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com