Today I want to talk about MY MEMORY...
I apologize in advance if this is not interesting to anyone beside myself, but this morning I was thinking about my own memory as it pertains to creativity. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I can be absent-minded and do stupid stuff -- like leave the house with my face half shaved, or get into my car with a bag of trash in my hand that I meant to take to the dumpster on the way to the car. I accept this about myself, and can even offer an injury-related justification for my spotty Short-Term Memory (STM). This is who I be. But that said, I also have a (perhaps not iron-clad, but) pretty good Long Term Memory (LTM). I remember a lot of things from my childhood that my older brothers don't. I have vivid memories of the early 70's and snapshots of interesting events from my life. My LTM is WAY MORE ROBUST than my STM.
Okay, sorry for the ponderous backstory, but I needed to get that info out there before moving on to this observation I had about my memory in relation to my writing. I don't know if it is unique, and I'm sure it's not special... but it's interesting TO ME.
While I am writing (a screenplay, a comic script, a treatment), I have the ability to keep the entire story in my head as I work the story out. I WON'T forget the story and I will be able to keep it in my head until the project is finished. However, because of my cautious nature, once I have figured the story out in my head I ALWAYS open a word document and spill it out all out on the page. Then I save the document so that I KNOW I have it. But here is the peculiar thing... I will almost NEVER open that document back up and refer to it. I think that typing it out cements the story in my brain and when I sit down to write the first draft of whatever it is that I am writing, I remember it all.
Now here is where I think it gets weird...
This creative information MUST be stored in my STM, because once I have completed the project, or if something keeps me from working on it for a while (months or longer)... I will forget the whole damned thing! And if I go back later on down the line and re-read what I have written, it feels like someone else wrote it because I can't really remember it.
I'm not saying that I go all "Memento" and have absolutely no recollection of it, but when I read old stuff, the words have a foreign feeling to me. I'm not sure what the point of no return is for me, but there comes a point when I am no longer "IN" the story and it becomes alien to me.
On the surface, all of this seems really odd, since my LTM is better than my STM. But in reality, it REALLY makes sense and explains why I do so much dumb crap in day-to-day life. As an innate writer, I am always inside my own head -- creating... editorializing... working out story problems... weaving experiences in my life into a narrative...
The fact is I am ALWAYS writing in my head and THAT is why I forget mundane things and do dumb stuff. It's THE REASON why I have been accused (on more than one occasion) of "having my head up my a$$".
It also clearly explains why, on a daily basis, I do something stupid and immediately ask myself.. "Why did I do that?"