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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, November 6

Memory

We’re living in an age of increased awareness of memory and how it works and how it now doesn’t work with far too many seniors. In the old days, most people died before it ever got to that point. Now we all have a working knowledge of dementia and Alzheimer’s and all of us, young and old, shiver at the thought that we one day may have to confront this dread mental condition. Memory. What a fickle beast it is. Some of what we remember from our past is false. Not deliberately so, but just skewed unconsciously to something better than or more acceptable than what actually happened. Some of our past experiences are brilliantly illuminated in minute detail, whereas some are only blank spots, dark passages from one brilliant memory to a later one. “Mem’ries light the corners of my mind,” Streisand sings. But only the corners, not the entire box.

I’ve also found that the memory works more efficiently in that ominous 3;00 a.m. moment when we’re no longer asleep but not quite awake.. Last night, 3:00 a.m., I think about pro basketball and some of the great players of the past—Magic, Larry, Chamberlain, Jerry West. And that led me to an LSU player who was considered the greatest shooter, ball-handler, passer in the college game. But who was he? I could see him—white, slender, not tall. I could see him performing his magic shot-making. But who was he? In the 3:00 a.m. silence and darkness, the name kept teasing me, just an itch away. Who was he? Then the memory coalesced and there it was, Pistol Pete Maravich. This morning I tried to remember his name and it was gone, vanished into that mysterious realm where reside all names we should know but can no longer remember, all those singers and actors from the past that should be on the tip of our tongues but have slipped off the back burner. So, I went to the memory-rescuer, the Internet, plugged in LSU basketball great, and there it was. Pistol Pete Maravich.

What would it be like without our memories? Nicole Kidman, in her newest film, Before I Go to Sleep, plays a woman who awakens each day with no memory of what she did in the last twenty years of her life, even the day before, a kind of selective amnesia. How awful would that be to have to renew yourself each morning of your life? What part of memory is our knowledge of language, of social conventions, of current technology? With dementia, victims lose short-term memories and retain long-term. With Alzheimer’s, both short- and long-term slip away until even language and motor skills vanish like smoke on a summer evening. How cruel. Memories are what we are, and without them we’re nothing. Will we soon find a way to derail dementia, to slow or even halt the decline of Alzheimer’s? I hope so, God, I hope so. Life without memory is a living death. No thanks. Just remind me where the pills are. Or haul me off to Oregon.

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