Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Do I Remember All That Stuff

I am not this guy

"How in the (you fill in the blank) do you remember all that dialogue, from so many years ago?" That's a question I've heard more than a few times.  I don't want people thinking that I make this stuff up, so I'm going to tell you!

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I break up a lot of my stories into parts, or chapters, because they are just too darn long. There were 38 consecutive entries relating to some of my experiences in Vietnam. Before that there was a 15 entry series on USMC Boot Camp.

So how do I remember so much? How can I possibly remember dialogue that old?

I cheated!

In boot camp we were usually given a short period of time in the evening, to clean our gear and write letters. While most recruits were writing their loved ones, I was sending letters to myself.  Well, not exactly letters, I was sending myself notes relating to what took place that day.

While in Vietnam, I did the same. The other guys were writing to their loved ones, while I was sending myself journal pages. If nothing happened on a particular day, I didn’t send anything home. I even did this as a kid. Of course I wasn’t sending myself letters, but I did take notes. I took notes and hid them.

For most of my life I could remember everything. If I was involved with it, I remembered it. If I heard it, I remembered it. So anyway, that’s how I do it…


22 comments:

sarahjayne smythe said...

Very cool to know that you did that. It's really a great idea to send letters to yourself. I think I may have to try that. :)

Pat Tillett said...

thanks! It's one of the very few O/C things I did in my life that paid off...

buymebarbies said...

That was a good idea. Most people don't think to "take notes" until they start to have bad things happen, not just everyday things!! OH, I guess that means you taking notes as a kid, huh?

Copyboy said...

Oh, hey, that wasn't a critique. I'm just impressed with your writing and your recall capability. Though now that I know how you did it, that is even more amazing that you thought to do that back in the V-days. Again, great blog as always!!!

Pat Tillett said...

LOL, I didn't take it as a critique at all. People have commented on the subject before. Here and in "real life." I put it out here so folks would know.

I forgot to say that I hid the notes at my grandma's house, when I was a kid. If my mom found them, I'd probably not be alive to write at all.
Anyway, thanks for the nice words! I appreciate them. Also, I love your site. I wish I could come up with half the stuff you do!

Pat Tillett said...

buymebarbies...
Yes I did. I wish I still had them now...

Ms. Anthropy said...

I couldn't make it without my notes, journals and others, who still have the ability to remember.

Pat Tillett said...

same with me...I have little scraps of paper with notes on them everywhere!

Bossy Betty said...

I think that's great. I also think that dialogue doesn't have to be exact. it just has to capture the spirit of the moment--which yours does!

Pat Tillett said...

Thank you, Madame!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

That is freakin' brilliant. That should be a book. Really. 'Letters to Myself' with current reflections.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Oh and there is an award for you on my blog

Pat Tillett said...

Thank you Sir!
I really have no idea why I started doing it. Maybe I thought nobody would believe the craziness that I was always involved in...
An award? I thank you in advance! I'm on my way...

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

That is a great idea! I agree with Cal.... What a great idea for a book!

Jerry said...

I have to say that was a genius idea. I wish I had the foresight to do the same when I was younger.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I find it such a great idea to send letters to yourself. I shouold try this myself.
Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!:)
Betty

Joe Cap said...

It's not cheating to do whatever you have to do to document your interesting life. If you rely solely on memories, they may not be completely accurate.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks Jerry, I wish I was as creative in finding a way to hang on to all of them through the years...

Minoccio said...

I think what you do is like keeping a journal. I try to do the same thing in my private blog, but I'm bad at writing every day... I try to write at least once a month and post pictures.

Pat Tillett said...

Minoccio - I find that I have too much stuff these days to write it all down. So I start a blog post to get the idea down and then save it for later. I have a lot of them... I've always had two blogs (one text and one photos), I recently combined them. Now it seems like I have more time.

Micael "Rabbit" Chadwick said...

I do the same thing. Though my memory for past events is insane and I do remember a lot, I have always written everything down.

I have battered spiral notebooks from when I was a kid - and graduated to comp books as I got older. At last count, I have more that 500 composition books - all filled - not to mention the scraps of paper, napkins, receipts, cigarette packs that I scribble on constantly. You can imagine the horror of my friends when they help me move...

They'll all be terribly pleased, though, when The Novel is on the bestseller list.

Pat Tillett said...

Micael - Wow! That's an amazing amount of experiences and feelings you've got notes on. I'm envious of you. I have a few notebooks left, but most of my stuff was trashed by my evil mother when I was in the military. I lot of my blog entries are based on scribbles I've made on scraps of paper and matchbooks. I've been making myself toss them as get it on the computer. hard to do...

I think you've got a treasure on your hands...