How many of you out there have good memories? I'm not talking about remembering things from a couple of weeks ago or even months ago, but years/decades ago? Be honest now.
I thought so.
I've been blessed/cursed with partial recall when comes to remembering things. One place that it has reared it's ugly head is here, because you'll find a lot of my posts peppered with one or two obscure reference points, pop culture or otherwise. Example, in my last two posts, I quoted a song from a now defunct college radio program that ended in 1999 and I quoted the opening lyric from a Tubes album that came out in 1983.
Another prime example is the title of this post. Channel J is a public access channel located in New York, specifically somewhere in the five boroughs (I'm sure someone from NY will be kind enough to correct me on what I'm about to say). From what I remembered, this channel is one of the raunchiest and nastiest things on the air today, and has been involved with battles over censorship and free speech.
Now I'm sure you're thinking, "what does a person from CT know about this station?" Well nothing really, other than seeing a very tiny ad for it, buried deep in the entertainment section of the New York Post, a paper that I haven't read since 2004.
One last example: Back in 2004, I had designed and created an Excel database for inactive employees at the previous stop in my state career. Suffice to say, this thing was labor intensive (took about six months to create), information overload of the highest caliber and easy to use, which meant that no one used it. Why? Because people found it easier to ask the person who created it (me), who knew of where every single stupid inactive employee was located, two years running.
I'm sure you're also asking yourself, especially after reading the tags at the end of this post, "What does all this have to do with writing?"
Memories are what shapes our outlook and what makes us who we are. As a fiction writer, memories help shape what you create. They provide a never-ending source of amusement, wit, emotion and ideas to use.
For me, some of my memories have shaped and sharpened my writing. My upcoming novel is based in CT and use places that I've come across and events that I've experienced. Even the story I'm currently re-writing is based in CT, as it uses familiar landmarks and towns to make it come truly alive.
Even for something as simple as blogging or posting in chat rooms, memories can shape your outlook. I got the idea for this post after being ask a simple question over the weekend in two different ways. From one person it was asked derisively, as if somehow remember an incident from Easter 2007 was a bad thing. For him, memories are nothing and it showed as the other person I was talking to, somehow remembered me from last year. Thus, war of attrition between this person and myself died down, as we updated each other on what we were doing.
Note: One cannot change one's writing style, no matter where you're doing it. A person's writing style is like a fingerprint, it's unique as no two are alike.
For the other person, it was asked as a serious question, because they were trying to learn something new. I gave her two examples of what I thought were my best insults along with the appropriate background info, and hopefully, it will lead to further questions and pleasant conversations.
I believe that memories are a good thing, as they have heavily influenced my writing, here in my blog and with the stories that I'm either currently writing, re-writing or soon to be writing.
My question for everyone then is this: how does your memories help shape you as a writer/blogger?