What Have I Done For You Lately?

My last post (below) was about losing friends and being okay with it. My primary point was that as we grow, change, move on, it’s only natural that we’ll lose touch with some friends. I mentioned the theory about how people enter our lives, perhaps teach us one of life’s lesson, or at least are there when we need someone, and then it’s likely that, in time, we’ll go our separate ways. But, I must admit, I was thinking about the people from my past who had faded away and what they had done for me.

How narrow-minded! What about all times when I/you have touched someone else’s life? If you look back and think of a lost friend, wondering why you connected with her, why for a brief moment in time she was important to you, perhaps it is you who taught her something. Sometimes we are The Giver instead of The Taker.

I am repeatedly fascinated by listening to others’ memories (especially when they involve me)(it’s a little like looking at group photos and focusing mostly on myself). What’s most shocking is what moments stick out in their memories, and how that differs from what sticks out in my mind. Sometimes a friend/parent/spouse/child will tell a story about an event that I cannot for the life of me recall.

People remember moments that strike them the hardest emotionally. That’s my theory about memory; I’ve never heard this from any experts, but it seems logical. We rarely remember random Tuesdays, unless something dramatic happened. We remember highs and lows.

As a writer, it’s important to realize that readers will remember your stories if there are extreme emotions—good or bad—e.g. The Joy Luck Club, A Prayer For Owen Meany, Sophie’s Choice, Anna Karenina, Hoosiers, The Color Purple, and on and on and on. Those moments in your story should not be rushed or minimized. You must make them memorable!

Funny thing is, you don’t always know what moments or words will strike other people, or when that moment is because of you. Go forth, friends, cautiously. You don’t want to be anyone’s bad memory!