Memory, Don’t Desert Me!

“I was so ashamed the other day. I couldn’t remember my neighbor’s name!”

This was a writer friend of mine, lamenting about his fading memory.

“That’s not the half of it,” he continued, “The three things I have the most trouble with are: names, faces, and I’ve forgotten, for the moment, the other thing!”

And this was the fellow that wanted to write his autobiography!

“I’ve got to get this sorted out so I can recall my past experiences for my life story.”

“Well my friend, lets try to dissect the problem, because, I too am writing a memoir.”

My friend had a far away look in his eyes. I knew he was using his cognitive abilities, the wheels were turning!

“Sometimes, when I try to recall an event in my life, it’s not an accurate account. I know this because my mother has told me so.”

“That’s right, our memories are flawed. They are constructed, made up, by our brains. They are connected with everything we think and believe.”

“Oh no, that’s terrible!” my friend cried.

“That’s the reality, my friend, memories degrade, they join with other memories and they change over time. We are not good at remembering details.”

“I guess you’re right, the other day, I witnessed a car accident and the cop taking my statement  asked for a detailed account and I had a hard time giving him all the details he asked for.”

“You see, that’s what happens in our memories, we alter or even invent details to complete the narrative in our mind, to fill in the gaps, so to speak!”

“My mother has straightened me out on a lot of my childhood memories for me.”

“Yes, that’s what we need to be accurate. We need external verification, which is what your mother was giving you. Without this verification, you don’t really know how accurate your memory is.”

My friend looked at me quizzically.

“Well, what can we do about improving our recall?”

“What I do, when I’m writing my memoirs is: I look at different things to get a retrievable cue to trigger my memory, such as old photos or objects that remind me of events.”

“That’s interesting.”

I smiled, I hoped I was helping my friend understand that our memories are slightly fallible.

“We have vast amounts of info in our memory, far more than we can retrieve. So we need a cue to trigger lost memories.”

The writer had a very serious look on his face.

“So, I’m writing my autobiography with an “unreliable memory!”

“When I recall a past event, a few highlights come to mind, but not all the details. So, in my brain, I reconstruct the rest of the event adding info so that it all makes sense.”

“Well, thanks a lot for these revelations! That means I am writing a “fictional” autobiography!”

He had a frown on his face.

“Don’t get upset, just think, you could change the names and sell it as a novel!”

“You’re joking!”

“I kid you not!”

“And to think I’ve been taking vitamins to improve my memory!”

I left my friend with these words:



PS-Writer Dave’s novel, “WEB OF GUILT’, coming soon on Amazon Kindle

The Dream

It was late and I was slowly drifting away into unconsciousness, which is sleep to you and me.

“Hey, where are we?” They all said in unison.

My four friends were seated on the green padded stools in “Dave’s Watering Hole”, located in downtown Chicago. We were all lined up together at the bar, Tom, Larry, Marla, Cousin Jim and myself. It was great to be altogether, ready to have a party.

Tom, my boyhood classmate, going back to 1st grade, 68 years ago, was here in person. We didn’t see or hear from each other since we graduated High School at 18! We met again on facebook after 55 years.

Larry, started reading my blogs late at night or early in the morning, and commenting. His comments are always interesting and to the point.

Marla, my writer friend, who keeps me on the straight and narrow when it comes to writing.

Cousin Jim, aka the Long Lost Cousin, has a good heart and always has a joke handy. He is really my cousin on my mother’s side!

“Set them up bartender, it’s my treat,” I said, enthusiastically.

“Oh, this is great to get together,” said Larry.

“Beer for Cousin Jim, cocktails for Tom and Larry, a margarita for Marla, and brandy for me.”

Marla got off of her stool and started dancing a salsa with an imaginary partner!

“There is a saying, that everyone should have at least four friends. One to talk to and three to talk about. But, I’ve got four friends that I can party with!”

We all met, with me writing and the other four reading and commenting on “Writer Dave’s Blog”. When I created the Blog, I acquired four loyal readers who I greatly appreciate.

“I always thought we might meet someday,” said Tom.

“I, too, always wanted to get together,” said Larry.

“I wanted to meet Writer Dave because he has supplied me with many laughs, which always lighten my day,” said Marla.

“I’m a down to earth guy, and I always enjoy my cousin’s stories,” said LLC.

“And here we all are, let’s party,” I said.

Marla said: “I’ve sold over a million copies of my book!”

“Hey Marla, did you ever live in a basement apartment?”

“No, I haven’t, why do you want to know?”

“Because you’ve wrote a best CELLAR!”

Everyone laughed!

Tom went to the jukebox and put on Elvis’ record, “Let’s Have A Party”.

Everybody in Dave’s Watering Hole was jiving away!

“Breaking News! Writer Dave’s Blog has gone viral, with 500,000 readers, and they all promise to buy his forthcoming ebook,” said the TV newsreader.

The entire tavern broke out in a cheer!

Larry said: “Hugh Hefner wants me to be a PR again for Playboy.”

“That’s great, Larry, you always enjoyed that job.”

Tom said: “Andrew Lloyd Webber wants me to take the lead in his new Broadway play!”

“Tom, you will be a STAR,” I said.

Another News Flash came on the TV: “Cousin Jim has won a trip to Disneyland for his entire family.”

“Cousin, you will be a kid again with your grandchildren,” I exclaimed.

More drinks, bartender, all our dreams are coming true!”

These are my friends and we all finally met in person. Tom and I knew each other as children, now we meet as adults. The others I met by internet connection.

“Sometimes in everyone’s life, we get down and our inner fire goes out. It then bursts into flame again by an encounter with other human beings. You four people have rekindled my inner fire!”

We all cheered!

All of a sudden, I sat up in my bed. Shaking the grogginess from my head, I remembered an email I had recently from Tom.

I had just emailed him to tell him of my dream, that we would all meet for a party someday.

And Tom said: “It’s a wonderful dream but it’s good we have the internet to connect us. We may see each other again and we may not. Either way, we are friends and I am grateful.”

I smiled to myself, and laid my head down again on my pillow, hoping I could re-enter my dream!

PS- Writer Dave’s novel, “WEB OF GUILT”, coming soon on Amazon Kindle.

Explaining Myself To Myself,Through My Writing

When I was a boy of eleven, I started talking to myself on a regular basis. I was an only child and my father had just died. So, it was really my mother and I against the world. I felt very alone, but self-talk gave me comfort.

My self-talk involved explaining to myself what my daily experiences meant to me and who I was and why I acted the way I did. Also, what I needed to do to survive without a father.

When I grew up, not only did I talk to myself but I started writing. That’s when I began explaining myself to myself through my writing…

“Hey cousin, what’s all this “explaining to yourself” stuff,  a form of therapy?”

“You could call it that, writing can be therapy.”

“Sometimes when I’m depressed, I feel like I need therapy,” said my cousin, soberly.

“What I’m talking about is explaining to yourself how you see the world in terms of your own life, occupation, and your immediate preoccupations, and how you should proceed in life.”

“This is getting deep!”

“Not really, you know the stories I write?”

“Oh yes, I like your stories.”

“Well, I usually ask hidden questions about the world through my stories. Why are we here? Who do we think we are? Looking for explanations and answers, the writer uses words to explore concepts.”

“Oh, I get it, we have gaps in our knowledge, so you fill the gaps with words.”

“Right! You’re getting the gist of this.”

My cousin smiled from ear to ear.

“When I write, I ask myself: What I’m thinking, what I’m seeing and what it means, what I want and what I fear, this is the explanation process of writing.”

“That’s interesting, you’re writing your self-talk!”

“I try to explain myself to myself so I don’t become someone I’m not. Life is difficult enough without being an impersonator too!”

“Hey cousin, I like that line! But how do the stories you write explain things to you?”

“I write dramatized explorations of all the emotional turbulence I experience, anger, love, hate, guilt and so on. Through my words I try to make these abstract concepts, concrete. So I understand myself better.”

“Sometimes, cousin, I wonder who I am, maybe I should start writing!”

“Just be yourself, you can do that better than anyone else.”

“You’re a philosopher, cousin.”

“When I read my own stories, even though the story itself is made up, I can tell that it has been molded by my own life experiences. And this helps me explain myself to myself, in other words, to understand myself.”

“Cousin, I’m going to take this “explaining yourself” stuff to heart.”

“I hope my rambling on has helped you,” I smiled.

“Oh yes, I’m going home now, to EXPLAIN to my wife that I’m going to lay down the law in our house, but I will probably have to accept all of her AMENDMENTS!”

Assertiveness and The Line-Jumper

“I’ve had a hell of a day. I’m so mad I could spit nails,” said my Long Lost Cousin.

“Calm down and tell me what happened.”

“I was standing in a long line at the supermart checkout. When some clown butts in front of me with a full trolley!”

“What did you do?”

“I yelled, “Who the hell do you think you are? Get to the back of the line.”

“What happened then?”

“He just put his middle finger up and smiled.”

The other people in the line were getting fidgety.

“Manager! Manager!” My cousin screamed.

The manager came running!

“This bozo line-jumped, and he won’t move to the back of the line.”

“Please sir, go to the back,” said the manager, pleading with the bozo.

“No, I’m staying right here. This guy can’t order me around,” the bozo said, defiantly.

“Then I pushed him out of line and took his trolley to the back of the line.

Then he pushed me from behind. We were pushing each other back and forth. Before I knew what was happening, the police were there calming everyone down. It took me two hours to get out of the store with my groceries. Can you believe it?”

“You could have handled it better,” I said, calmly.

“How’s that?”

“Well, you are still visibly upset and it has made your day miserable. This is the outcome of your aggressive behavior in handling that difficult situation.”

“What would you rather me say? “Please sir, will you be so kind as to move to the back of the line. That’s being a wimp.”

“Do you know what being assertive means?”

“Please tell me, cousin dear, I’m all ears.”

“Well, it doesn’t mean being sarcastic, I’ll tell you that!”

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.”

“Being assertive involves talk focused on the solving of problems and preserving the dignity of everyone in the difficult situation.”

“How do you do that in the line-jumping situation?”

“Well, you could have said:

“I’ve been in this line for a while, waiting, and you going in front of me has upset me, would you please go to the end of the line,” you see, no swearing, no name calling, and no pushing.”

My cousin looked at me quizzically.

“Now, to communicate this, you have to have a firm tone of voice, eye contact, and a confident stance, no slouching!”

“So you think saying that will make him move to the back of the line?”

“Well, at least you are not arguing with him in a loud voice.”

My cousin shook his head.

“Now, you might get a very angry response, or be ignored, and the line-jumper might stay put. But, on the other hand, you might get an apology and he might move back.”

“That would be great if he went to the back.”

“Yes, and you would feel good for tackling the situation in a calm, cool way, and not spoil your day.”

“Well cousin, thanks for the lesson  in assertiveness.”

“You’re welcome. Hey, where are you going?”

“Home. My wife said she’s going to let me do something I have always dreamed of doing. She will let me win an argument without being ASSERTIVE!”


Immortality At Minus 200 Degrees Celsius!

I was at a literary conference, where not only writers meet but also people who are interested in books and the info they contain, whether fiction or non-fiction.

I was having a glass of wine and chatting with a couple of writers, when this chap sat down next to me and said:

“I hope they “cure” the deterioration of old age because I would like to live a long time to continue and finish all the projects I have on the go.”

I took a good look at this guy, he was very well built and healthy looking for a grey headed fella with quite a few wrinkles on his face.

“Well, there is a writer here that is going to speak about his book on “Immortality”. I guess that’s why you’re here today.”

“Yes, I will probably buy his book and get him to sign it for me.”

“That statement you made when you sat down, It’s a good way to start a conversation,” I smiled.

“I’m sorry if I butted in, but I’m new at these conferences and I am anxious to make acquaintances.”

“That’s alright, the purpose of these meetings is to exchange views on ideas that different writers have written about.”

“Well, I would like to live to at least 160 to complete my projects and see my grandchildren grown up and maybe even my great grandchildren.”

“How old are you?”


“So, you’re looking for another 100 years!”

“Yes, but the trouble is that now our cell-repair mechanisms shut down due to old age.”

One of the writers at our table piped up, smiling:

“When I learned of a friend’s death, I asked, what of? I was told apparently it was nothing serious, only old age.”

“Well, that’s my point. I don’t want to die of old age,” said my friend, next to me, very seriously. He had a far away look in his eyes.

“Did you ever consider Cryonics?”

“No, what’s that all about?”

“It’s a “freeze-wait-then re-animate” process. A sort of frozen fountain of youth.”

“You mean when I die, I would be frozen like the food in my refrigerator?”

“Well, freezing does preserve things.”

“How does it work?”

“After death, all your blood is removed and replaced with a fluid that preserves your organs, while they are frozen. Then after a length of time, the technologies of the future could bring you back to life. Defrost you, so to speak, for another lifetime of 100 years or so.”

Our new friend looked very pensive.

“That sounds interesting. The distinction between the living and the dead would become vague and actually blur. Our definitions of death would be re-written!”

“There are a couple of questions yet to be ironed out. Would the brain cells be okay after freezing? Would memory and personal identity be restored?”

“Has anyone been brought back to life yet after defrosting?”

“Not yet, to my knowledge. There was a fella in the late 60’s, who was suspended and apparently his body is checked ever so often, and it seems to be holding up okay. They might try to defrost him soon. As of now, there are approximately 1000 bodies in suspension.”

“Well, it’s a thought,” said my friend, seeking immortality.

One of the other writers at our table said:

“Maybe death is the best part of life; it’s always saved for last!”

We all laughed, except the fella seeking the Fountain of Youth.

I got up from the table and said:

“Well, I have to go now, I’ve got a speech to give. I’ve enjoyed talking to you, here’s my card, we should keep in touch.




Moon Landing?

I was sitting in my favorite diner having a coffee. It was too early for the tavern and the green padded stools! The curvy waitress served me my coffee and said:

“Did you see that cartoon in the paper today?

“No, I didn’t, was it funny?”

“Oh Yes, it was on the moon, you see, and this red Indian comes out of his teepee and sees in the distance an astronaut sticking an American flag into the dusty rock and he says:

“Oh no, not again!”

I smiled, but the fella next to me said sourly:

“The moon landing was a conspiracy, it never happened!”

“What makes you believe such dribble?” I said seriously.

The waitress disappeared and left us to it.

“I’m a member of “Conspiracy Ltd.”, and we believe in many conspiracies. We believe the “powers that be” are trying to hoodwink us.”

“I remember the moon landing well, that day back in July of 1969, when my whole family watched it on TV, and we were incredibly proud of the achievement. Why would it be faked?”

“We know it was all done because of the Cold War and The Space Race with the Soviets. It was deemed easier and less expensive for NASA to fake the moon landing and thereby guaranteeing success, than to really go there. Our technology was also probably lacking. So, faking it was easier with less risk.”

I shook my head.

“But all the evidence points to a real moon landing. It was probably the best documented event in human history. There were thousands of pictures, hours of video, and many moon rocks. Scientists do not doubt, for a moment, that it was not real.”

My diner companion eyed me suspiciously.

“You people are ready to believe things because you are very gullible.”

“On the contrary, I am a skeptic! I question and analyze ideas and events with the concept of fallibility in mind. But when reason, logic and evidence prevail, as in the case of the moon landing, it becomes fact.”

“We conspiracy believers don’t believe what the “authorities” tell us. We believe the theories because we see the world full of conspiracies!”

This guy was getting under my skin. The curvy waitress re-appeared.

“More coffee?”

“Yes please, and I’ll take a piece of the cherry pie.”

I thought if I indulge myself, I might be able to take this guy with a grain of salt.”

She returned with my pie and said:

“I have another moon joke.”

“Go ahead, darling, it might lighten this conversation up.”

“Well, after the Americans went to the moon, the Russians said they will send a man to the Sun! The engineers said, if he goes to the Sun, he will burn up!

“What do you think we are stupid?” The Soviets replied, “We’ll send him at night!”

The diner erupted with laughter, except the guy next to me.

“Do you realize it would be virtually impossible to fake the moon landing? The conspiracy would have to involve about 400,000 people who worked on the project. Governments are not known for keeping secrets! So, with the number of people that would have had to be involved, someone would have leaked the hoax.”

“People like you believe science is the absolute truth.”

“No, you’re wrong there, science, like everything, can at times, be fallible, but its strength is self-correction. If something is wrong, it will be flushed out by lack of external verification. In the case of the moon landing there was plenty of external verification.”

I had enough of this guy and as I got up to leave, the waitress hurried over and said: “How many aerospace engineers does it take to change a light bulb on the moon?”

Walking out the door, I said:

“None! It’s not rocket science, you know.”

I Have Given Birth!

I was so excited, I had to call up my Long Lost Cousin, to tell him the news.

“Hello Cousin, I have to tell you my first novel is out on Kindle. I’m so excited.”

“That’s great Cousin, what’s it about?”

“Well, there are three main characters suffering with extreme guilt and they try to rid themselves of their guilt in different ways and they all get tangled up with a gangster.”

“Hey, that sounds interesting. What’s it like, writing and publishing a novel?”

“Your novel is like your baby, but the gestation period is much longer than nine months. You plough on and on, then one day it’s finished.”

“Your baby, huh?”

“That’s right. Getting to the end of the novel is hard and at the finish it’s sad, because you have to let go and let it out into the world.”

“I imagine it takes a lot of going over to make it just right.”

“Yes it does, it’s called revising. You check grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc. It’s about looking at your book from different angles.”

“Sounds like a lot of work.”

“Do you read many novels, Cousin?”

“Yes, I just finished one that I didn’t like at all. In fact, the writer should have put a finishing touch on the story- A MATCH!”

“That’s very funny, I hope you like my novel.”

“Can you take criticism on your book?”

My Cousin was starting to delve beneath my skin, now.

“Yes, I can, when you are a writer you have to have a thick skin. When your novel is out there in the big, bad, world, you have to expect some criticism.”

“How do you rationalize it to yourself?”

“Well, when you let out an object into the world, and it’s something you have created and invested in; when all is said and done, it is still an object that can and should be criticized.”

“Do you have interesting characters in your novel?”

“I hope you will find them interesting. I tried to make it a character study.”

“This novel that I didn’t like; the writer said his characters bore no resemblance to any person living or dead. That was what was wrong with the story!”

I smiled, but I wished he wouldn’t make so many jokes.

“Well Cousin, I hope you will download my book onto your Kindle. Remember my novel is like a game for two players, you and me. My book may have been written in solitude but the dream of the story comes alive when the reader’s imagination collaborates with my imagination. I hope I can get you Cousin, to stay inside the dream of my story.”

“About this birth of yours, was it a long labour?”

“You and your jokes, Cousin, yes, as a matter of fact, about three years.”

“Well, if you kept at it that long, I congratulate you and I will most certainly download your book.”

“Thank you, Cousin, the world is filled with words and I hope you enjoy the ones I am giving you.”


PS-From Writer Dave: My novel, “Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story”, is coming soon to Amazon Kindle.