It’s never too late . . .

16 Sep

. . . to learn something new about yourself, right?

My mind has been spinning more than usual for the last few weeks. On August 6, I stumbled on an article about LeBron on ESPN.com.  This is hardly a rare occurrence, living as I do in Cleveland, but it was the content that really grabbed me. Here’s the link to the piece by Brian Windhorst.  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11067098/lebron-james-greatest-weapon-brain​     I hope I won’t be shut down for quoting from this piece, as long as I provide the proper attribution, so y’all please keep your fingers crossed.

“‘When I was a kid my coaches started to say to me that I remembered things that happened in games from a few tournaments back — and that surprised them,” James says. “I started to realize how important that could be years later, probably when I was in high school. And then, eventually, I realized that it can get me into trouble.’

If there’s one thing that can be said about the study of the human brain — and especially the field of memory — it’s that even today, it’s notable less for what is known than for how much is not known. The workings of our head-sponges remain, for the most part, a mystery. But if there are areas of consensus in the field of neurology, one of them is that the notion of “photographic memory,” in which a person can take mental snapshots and recall every detail at a later time, has never been proved to exist.”

And these two isolated sentences from the same article:  (Those who have it)’They are as cursed by it as they are blessed by it. It’s hard, after all, to erase bad memories when you can’t erase any of them at all.’

 

I’ve always had a terrific memory – the exact address of every place I ever lived as a kid, plus phone numbers, etc. I’ve often joked about wishing I could erase some of the trivia in my brain to make room for important or up-to-date data. I had no idea that other people experienced the same thing! Duh. It was only about ten years ago that I learned there was a name for my uncanny memory of names, faces and numbers. I knew I’d been born with this ability: it was not because of anything I ever did to encourage it.

That magic name was Eidetic. Since then I’ve investigated it a bit, but then something else comes along and distracts me. One thing about mine (and it seems as though every person’s eidetic is at least somewhat different from everyone else’s eidetic) is that while I’m reading a manuscript or a book, and there are conflicting statements or data, I can fairly easily find both instances without searching the entire book. I’ll remember it being on the upper left page, or lower right page, for instance. Naturally, this doesn’t work so well with my own writing, but it’s dandy with everyone else’s! It makes me a great proof-reader, actually.

It also helped me find two plagiarists, as well. I knew I’d read that book previously, and sure enough over the next day, I was able to dig it out of my mental library and present the information to the original author. One of these was Phyllis Whitney, who sent me a very nice note of thanks.

Sandra Heath Wilson, my writer friend in England says:  “It’s like having a camera in your head, and from time to time the shutter clicks and something is imprinted there forever. Sometimes I’m aware of it happening, other times no. I get the feel, scent, moment-in-time sensation as well. I gets me in the pit of the stomach. Strange. I remember the written word as well, but it’s not consistent. Sometimes I do it constantly, and am accurate, other times I can’t think straight. The mood has a lot to do with it. If I’m  relaxed, I remember and ‘see’ the page. I’m always remembering things from a Regency book I used to have. I can see an illustration or paragraph, and know which book it was in, and where it was on the page. Sometimes I can even make out a remembered index, but I wouldn’t like my life to depend upon it.  Actually, I think this sort of thing is a prerequisite for writers. I goes with the sort of brain that can invent stories and get them down in the written word. Imagination, a wild memory for odd things, and the ability to conjure things in the mind. To ‘see’ your characters and move them around.”

I’ve finally figured out why I’ve always excelled at tests, as I have! It’s the memory, which allows me to be a whiz-bang at trivia games, and to almost always find things I’ve temporarily mis-placed. On the whole, I guess I’m glad to have it, but it can definitely present problems. I found this web-site to be a fabulous read on the topic. http://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-have-a-photographic-eidetic-memory   I can agree with each of these folks. Not that mine is just like any of theirs, but for sure, I have the embedded GPS capability, and the ‘hard-headed know-it-all’ part, as well. It IS hard to maintain relationships, because the other person NEVER understands!

Strange, eh? So, what’s your story?

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