We’ve written a lot about memory and meaning and memory on this Boles Blog over the last decade or so — and yet I am always a little bit shocked and surprised when I read elsewhere, on other blogs — revelations of how fleeting and failing memories really are in the execution of rallying a daily life.
The blog post in question was written by a fresh and successful database engineer who, at a young age, was mildly complaining, in the midst of a technical exposé, how his short-term memory was failing him. He was trying to draw parallels between caching database memory and how his mind would clear, on its own, important, stored information he needed for short-term recall.
The young designer shared with us that if he thought of something while in the midst of working, he had to immediately stop and write down the thought on a piece of paper, or in the next thought, he’d forget what he meant to do next when he had a break in time.
The author didn’t seem to be particularly alarmed by his lack of short-term memory reception, but I felt for him because his letter read as if this were a semi-new experience that he was dealing with in the analytical manner of a software designer and problem fixer. He was using mechanical logic to solve a scientific health problem.
When I was on my recent Red Squares walking tour of Jersey City, I happened upon some street construction that gave me a chance for an aesthetic and professional mulligan: Exposed cobblestones on their way to disappearing again for three decades!
I whipped out my new iPhone 5S and awkwardly began taking photographs to make up for a previously lost opportunity articulated here in a comments stream from two months ago:
I did not take photos of the cobblestones! Gah! I was always mesmerized by them and felt such sadness that the beauty would soon be covered up. I’ll have to look for another street in the area to document! …
Our cobblestones were like square granite bricks and they were put in the street end down — creating a long-lasting, and deep stone that would never wear away. …
I only know the cobblestones here are so massive because I tried to dig one out to keep! I couldn’t do it. Too massive. Too heavy. Too deeply seated in 1600 soil! …
They just covered up the old cobblestones again. They’ll be hidden for the next 30 years until they re-pave it all again.
Here we go! Caught, in situ, exposed cobblestones half-dead under hot, new, asphalt — and a burning morning sun — but now also half-alive for forever and a half-life, exposed, and memorialized here in this article!
One task I give my amateur Playwriting students is to have them write a 60-second play in Two Acts using the Three Act structure. That means you have around 30 seconds to set up the plot conflict points, 20 seconds to explode the conflict and 10 seconds to bring around a catharsis and denouement.
As your Script Professor, I created a Dramatic Writing group on Facebook, and one of our members asked me about the problem of writing about real people that you know. How do you get around their ego that they think you cannot help but write about them? What do you do about their determination to get paid for inspiring you? Here are the thoughts I shared.