Thursday, June 11, 2009


I have a really lousy memory. I always have, even way back into my early childhood. This has been mildly frustrating, and as to its source or solution, I cannot say.

It may have something to do with the fact that my imagination is always working in overdrive. This has ever been the way of it, even when I was just a very little kid reading comics, watching movies, or pursuing novels. I reckon I can blame it on Jack Kirby, Willis O'Brien, and Ray Bradbury.

Having a crappy memory leads to a lot of social problems. I tend to forget faces, names, appointments...that kind of thing. But the worst of the social crimes of which I am guilty is that I cannot recall any birthday or date, no matter how important those birthdays or dates are to other people. Is it that I'm an asshole? Well...I'm not vindictive that way. I just can't recall birthdays--not even my own.

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that for many years my parents had my birthday on the wrong date. When your mom was the mother of eight kids (plus two miscarriages), then I can understand how it's super-difficult to keep up with something as mundane as a birthday. In my case, they only had it wrong by a few days, but wrong it was. Finally, when I was nine or ten years old, they dragged my birth certificate out of the box and realized that it was June 28, 1957. I think that they had the year was just the day that they kept getting wrong (when they recalled it at all).

There have been times when I don't even remember my birthday myownself. Many have been the years when, around the second week of July or so, I will suddenly recall..."Hey! My birthday was two weeks ago!" No one else remembered it, so I was left to ignore it, too.

It's no big deal.

But from time to time over the years I've had people make a deal out of my birthday. My wife, sometimes, and my sister, sometimes. But I can't recall their birthdays, at all. When are those birthdays? If you told me, I might know. The only reason that I can remember to mark my wife's birthday is that she constantly reminds me as the date approaches. There are occasions when I'll remember to do something nice for her on that day in March. (Don't ask me what day...I can't recall. She'll remind me again starting in January.)

Unfortunately for those around me, my head is constantly ringing with ideas and plots for novels and short stories and scripts that will likely never see the light of print. Is this selfish? I don't know. It may be. It's definitely compulsive and not something that I can help. The world, apparently, would be much poorer if not for folk who suffer this malady. Without them, there would be no novels or movies or paintings or sculptures or comic books. Well...maybe some how-to stuff.

At any rate, that's the way it is with me. I apologize for the troubles and bruised feelings it's caused over the years. I've tried everything: notes of reminder, calendars, bulletin boards, what-have-you. The trouble is that I tend to lose track of such things. (Of course!) What good is that notebook reminding you of someone's birthday if that notebook was misplaced ages ago? Alas.

So here I sit, wondering about it all. I've just finished writing my latest novel. Ben Whitaker and Amy Braun and Sheriff Brace and Billy Sothern and Ghost Boy Tommy and the bad seed are all in their places in 108K words. I've consigned them to their fates. I spent a lot of time with them--almost as much time as I've spent with real humans over the course of the writing of that novel.

And now I'm at it again. There's a nameless assassin whose precognitive abilities aid him in hunting down chemically alter
ed berserkers escaped from a corporate prison. The personalities and actions of these folk will fill my head for the next few months. There's nothing I can do about it. They talked to me one day while I was daydreaming and their voices were loudest and foremost in my mind. I can see them. The color of their hair; the cut of their clothes; how they react to the heat, the cold, with being afraid, happy, alone, on the goes on endlessly.

My 25th wedding anniversary is coming up. I'll have to ask Carole the exact date. I keep getting it mixed up with my birthday and my son's birthday and Father's Day and some Holiday that falls around that general time period.

But the 25th anniversary. Damn. I'd best not forget that one.

Clueless in North Carolina.

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