Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Misty Watercolor Memories

My February Intrigue, Circumstantial Memories, is about a woman who has amnesia. Her past holds dangerous secrets she’s better off forgetting, but she doesn’t even remember the father of her child. When he shows up in town after three years, it exposes the heroine to all kinds of difficulties…and lots of hot passion!

I had fun writing this book because memory is so very interesting! I generally have a good memory, but as I get older I definitely have been drawing more “blanks” than I used to. I think people have good recall for different things. My husband will claim that I have a great memory when it comes to dumb or embarrassing things he’s done in the past. My husband can remember cases he’s worked on in minute detail but then he forgets the names of our sons’ friends’ parents and even their teachers sometimes!

I don’t remember a whole lot about my early childhood, but certain memories stand out for me. One of those is sitting in the backseat of the car eating a brownie with my mom driving. I must have been four at the oldest because I remember we had already dropped my three older siblings off at school. I don’t know why I’ve kept that particular memory in my brain. I have a few memories from kindergarten – one of a boy I had a crush on. His name was Mark and he wore earmuffs to school sometimes. This is unusual since I grew up in northern California and earmuffs were not a common accessory. I never even owned a pair of earmuffs! Maybe that’s why I remember Mark (or maybe that’s why I had a crush on him). For about ten years after I went to Greece, I could reel off the names of the islands, in order, that I visited. I just realized a few years ago I couldn’t do that anymore. It was a weird feeling. I thought I’d never forget the details of that trip! Memory is an odd thing.

When my boys were little – maybe four or five – I tried to find out if they could remember anything about being born. Is that weird of me? I mean, at ten years old you can usually remember events from five years before, right? No luck. They couldn’t seem to remember things from the previous two weeks! And now at 11 and 12, they don’t remember people and places from kindergarten that I can easily recall.

My father-in-law died at age 87 last year. Toward the end, he couldn’t remember our kids’ names or what he did the week before. But he fought in WWII and was present at D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, and he could still remember people and situations from that time. The short-term memories were fading, but the long-term were still hanging in there.

One of the most interesting movies I ever saw about memory was Memento. It’s about a man, played by Guy Pearce, who has short-term memory loss (over and over), and he’s trying to find out how his wife died. It’s really confusing but in a good way. One of my favorite “amnesia” movies is Dead Again with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson (when they were together). I love that movie!

Why are we drawn to amnesia stories? Why are we fascinated by people who have lost their memories? Perhaps it’s because memories are who we are on the deepest level. I have a good friend and an ex-boyfriend who have passed away. Sometimes I think about the situations that involved just the two of us, and I realize that I’m the only one who holds that memory now. That memory can be anything I want it to be. I can impose any spin or interpretation on that memory and nobody else can refute it now. I own that memory all by myself. So, hey, it becomes a circumstantial memory, doesn’t it?

So what are some of your earliest memories or some of your favorite amnesia books or movies? Have you ever had some weird memory incidents? And now that I'm thinking about it, I need to go back to my photo albums from Greece and retrace that trip in my and put those memories back in my brain!

Carol Ericson
Where Romance Flirts With Danger


  1. I have a very difficult time remembering names but incidents; I have no trouble with. I'm better with books. I can remember a plot, characters included from say 10 years ago......yet I have trouble remembering what I had for dinner last night! LOL
    I guess my fav "memory loss" book would by Divine Evil by NR.....which is more about repressed memories but still in the catagory of memory loss.

  2. I just love this subject, Carol. I have great memory when it comes to certain things (just like everyone else). If something bothers me, I'll remember it with clarity forever. But when it comes to little everyday things, I have to write myself sticky notes. *g*

    You know, for the life of me I can't think of a book I've read that dealt with memory fitting...LOL

  3. While your were sleeping is a great movie

  4. wstridgerunner, isn't that funny that you can remember books better than real life incidents? I guess because for books you can keep re-reading them, and you can't really "re-read" your life!

    Donna, I have this image of your home covered in sticky notes! I think when you have kids your memory gets worse because there's so much to remember.

    BethRe, I loved that movie too. Sandra Bullock is so good at that kind of comedy, where's she's kind of a loser. LOL She has another movie like that coming out soon.

  5. I love my memories. My first memory is when I was four years old. I got really sick and my brain was frying. The doctors wanted to put me in an ice bath, but my mom said no. So she took me home, stripped me down to panties and undershirt, opened all the windows in February in Baltimore, and laid me on the bed. A couple of hours later my temperature was down and I got to go to bed in my nice, warm bed all wrapped up in blankets.

    In my memories I see the curtains fluttering and snowflakes falling to the floor and me so hot I'm twisting and turning on the bed.

  6. Wow Jill! I think your mom's way of bringing down your fever was a lot more pleasant than an ice bath! Do you remember much else from when you were four? I can understand why that memory stuck with you. That's why I can't figure out why I remember that car ride with my mom. The only thing I can think of is my mom had early onset Parkinson's disease and by the time I was 5 years old, she wasn't able to drive any more. Maybe that was one of the last times I rode with her in the car and that's why I remember it. Or maybe because it's the only time I remember my mom driving. It's weird.

  7. I can remember reading the baby and you book my mom got from the doctor when she was having my brother, I was 4 1/2 then. I remember trying to pick him up from the bassinette and my mom having a cow I was going to drop him. LOL

  8. Congrats on the new release, Carol. My favorite amnesia books are Lisa Kleypas' "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "White Lies" by Linda Howard.

  9. I can remember my mother dressing me as a baby. She must have just bathed me. She put baby powder on me (Johnsons Baby Powder, and that nice smell stuck with me forever), and I can remember her tying my undershirt. Does anyone else remember those baby undershirts that you had to tie in two or three places.

    I loved your post, Carol. It was poignant and thought-provoking.

  10. Thanks, Jane. I haven't read those books, but I do love amnesia stories!

    Rita, wow, that's a long-ago memory! Isn't it amazing that you remember that and you probably can't remember incidents that took place a few years ago?

  11. Carol,

    My sister and I have very different memories of our childhood. She remembers the bad things with our father, and I remember the good things.

  12. Sandy, that's just like me and my oldest sister. She concentrates on the bad memories, which I turn into amusing stories, and I concentrate on the good. So much better to go through life that way!