Oops or Poetic License (For Bonnie)


I remember being a teenager and my sister telling me a story about something that happened to her when she was a girl. She began the story with “it was a Thursday . . . ” And then, another story, another time that began with something like “I was wearing a blue shirt and we were standing in the middle of her aunt’s house and it was snowing outside.”

I can barely remember what I wore yesterday, the weather conditions or where I went, and without taking a moment to think, I’m not sure I can tell you what day of the week it is. But my sister, she has a steel trap memory. And she reads my blog (Thanks, Bonnie).

Why should you care about this? Actually, you probably don’t care but I think it’s important to give you as much information as I can about me if you are going to be reading my blog and building trust with me. So here goes:

Fact #1: I do not have a steel trap memory.

After reading one of my first blog posts, my sister sent me a private note reminding me that I was 39 when I had my hip surgery, not 37 as I’d said in the post. She was right. Then yesterday, she sent me another email about my  post on seeing the musical ANNIE when I was young. I said we saw it on Broadway. I remember the bus ride, the girl so hot she felt like a french fry. I even remember that they fed us chocolate covered apricots, which I didn’t particularly like but made me think we were living the high life. Or maybe that was another bus trip. My sister can probably tell you.

In this most recent email from my sister, she said that we saw ANNIE in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center not on Broadway. And, as you might have guessed, she is right. Come to think of it, I’m not sure when I first went to Broadway to see a musical. I know I have been there both in my childhood and adulthood but I’ve lost any memory of when and what I saw. Except last year when I saw BILLY ELLIOT. I’m sure about that one. (It was really great too).

Fact #2: My memory sucks.

This isn’t completely true because I remember weird details from moments in my life, details that are definitely right, without any doubt. Except maybe if I wrote them down or spoke them out loud, my sister or some other person who might have been with me at said time would tell you that I am wrong about the details, and they’d probably be right.

Fact #3: My memory may not be accurate but for what it’s worth, what I say is true.

Not true in a black and white way, but true in a you-get-the-gist-of-it kind of way. I can promise you that I am not intending to lie or mislead you, dear reader, when I tell a story and the details are perhaps, a bit off. Hopefully, my mistakes do not take away from the purpose or meaning inherent in what I write down.

I wish I had my sister’s memory but I don’t. I’m sorry for that. It’s up to you whether that bothers you when you read what I have to say.

But in my defense, I am a writer and writers, I believe, are allowed poetic license.




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10 thoughts on “Oops or Poetic License (For Bonnie)

  1. You’re too funny! I can relate though! The other day, I could not for the life of me remember how old I am. And my birthday’s in less than a week! LOL

    I have an awful memory too! I really do. I have to write things down, unless they are routine things (like getting the daughter’s Tuesday folder signed, packing her snack, packing my lunch, etc.)

    My husband and I both have such awful memories that we’ll say to each other, “Hey, don’t let me forget…wait..why am I saying that to YOU?”

    And yes, we all have poetic licenses!

    1. Memories are funny things. Before I had kids, I could see a person once and remember them forever. Now, I’m always struggling to recall a name and how I know somebody. Soooo frustrating.

  2. I like your sister have a steel trap mind….so I know where she is coming from! Love your blogs…regardless of their accuracy!

  3. That steel trap thing in the picture might’ve come in very handy when dealing with Devil-Possum.

    In some ways I have a pretty good memory, but sometimes I wonder if it’s really as good as I think it is–mainly when I’m reading a book. I’ll often discover that something important happened earlier in the novel, but I don’t remember how it happened. Maybe it’s because I daydream a little too much, or read when I should be sleeping, but I guess as long as I can follow what’s going on, it’s all good.

    1. That’s hysterical. I have to admit, I can’t stop thinking about the Devil-Possum. A great story.

      I’m the same way with books and movies. Daydreaming is definitely the culprit. And, yes, it’s all good.

  4. I think I remember things accurately, only my memories aren’t really that clear either–I just think they are. Contradictions. I’m glad I’m a fiction writer, It would suck if I had to write an accurate memoir.

    1. I’m glad I write fiction too. I wouldn’t want Oprah to call me out as a liar and cheat because my memoir was not factual.

  5. How funny! I like “poetic license” much better than “senior moments,” which is the problem I have with memory lapses nowdays. Sometimes its handy not having siblings to remind you things are slipping, but I have a number of cousins who make up for that deficit.

    1. Aren’t we lucky that as writers we get to call it poetic license? I don’t mind my sister calling me out as long as she gets that the mistakes are not intentional and don’t really change the meaning of the story.

So what do you think?