In high school, I was the watchful and observant type. I didn’t like to talk much and would prefer to watch others rather than interact with them. Sometimes I wrote down some of the strange things I saw and heard – and writing things down helped me commit them to memory.
I still remember all sorts of minute details from high school – and about the people I went to high school with. I see these same people around town sometimes and when I pass them in the halls of Wal-Mart or wherever, they look right through me like they don’t recognize me at all, even though I was in a lot of their classes. Because I was the quiet one, the “watcher,” I find myself recalling all kinds of scattered memories about that person: the things they talked about, what they liked to do, who they hung out with, odd little mannerisms they had, etc.
It’s a little painful, especially when you see your old crush from high school and he doesn’t seem to remember who on Earth you are. But in a more reassuring way, I’m glad I’m not really remembered (in a good way or bad way). I’d rather blend into the scenery or into the wall and conduct my observation unobserved and unremembered.
On the plus side, I have tons of random anecdotes from these memories that may become story ideas in the future and have become story ideas in the past. I can take the mannerisms of one person and match them with the mannerisms of another to create a pretty cool character.
But memory is quite an interesting concept… so my question for you is – how does your memory serve you when you write? Do you often get ideas from your memories or do they come up out of thin air?